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kiWARfEN Essay? 



"Reived |/^N 4 1893 . 189 
Accessions No. ^<=i'^2,Z-. Class No. 






Lectures Read before tlie London Froebel Society 


kS^ovA ' oyjC ■ rvx." P 4ff/ 


*■ . . ^ . -^ LONDON 




• Butler t TaniMr, 

r?ie Seltoood Pnuting Work», 

FrofMt and XoticUm. 


Madame de Portugall's Synoptical Table • Froniy 

Na I. — Shirreff, Progressive Development according to Frribel's 
Principles •••••• 

No. 2.— BucKLAND, On Stories in the Kindergarten 

No. 3. — HoGGAN, Physical Education of Girls • 

No. 4.— BucKLAND, The Happiness of Childhood 

No. 5. — Heerwart, Probers Mutter und Kose-lieder 

No. 6. — Shirreff, Wasted Forces . . , 

No. 7. — Shirreff, The Kindergarten in Relation to Schools 






No. 8.— Shirreff, The Kindergarten in Relation to Family Life. 133 




My purpose this evening is to draw your attention to 
the Synoptical Table that Madame de Portugall has constructed, 
to show the intimate connection between the kindergarten 
and all^ later studies. You see it here before you, enlarged, 
and also slightly simplified, in as far as some of the less 
important details have been omitted, to avoid overcrowding, 
so that it might be clearly seen from a distance. 

We must suppose this table to represent the whole period of 
life given to instruction, f>., kindergarten age, from three to 
seven ; school time, from seven to eighteen ; higher studies, 
from eighteen upwards, according to opportunities and the 
degree of knowledge aime4 at These different portions are 
marked out here. All the lower part, beginning from this 
central point, is devoted to the kindergarten. The school 

* This paper was written fot a lecture, delivered before the Froebel 
Society, and is printed in the form in which it was originally delivered. 



%eceived J/^N 4 1893 ^ /^P 
Accessions No. ^<^^1?>.. Class No. 


t, - 





8 Progressive Development 

are generally made to exemplify some little story or description, 
and which, being always accompanied with music, carry on the 
lesson of time and rhythm begun with the ball games, and are 
closely connected with that very important part of early kinder- 
garten instruction, the art of story-telling. 

Madame de Portugall places both languages and stories 
together, as belonging to the early series of exercises. We see, 
> without need of explanation, how immediate is the connection 
\between the child*s first study of language and his first interest 
in stories. It will not be a grammatical study certainly. That 
jwill not come till long after, but a study of words and 
sentences, which the teacher will always make sure her little 
audience imderstands. New words, or new forms of expression, 
will often be piirposely introduced into a narrative, and from 
these new words, names, probably, of things which the children 
are promised a sight of next day, or which they have seen but 
not noticed, a fresh tale may begin. For there are no set 
stories in the kindergarten, nor is it yet the time for fables, 
save of the most artless kind; the satire and worldly wisdom 
which underlie their apparent simplicity make them unfit for 
those who can as yet see a very small portion of the surface of 
Aings. The little narratives I speak of are just what the present 
object, or game, or child's question, suggests. The children, 
though generally eager to know, and prompt to feel, are ignorant 
of all, and the teacher knows so much of what surrounds their 
ignorance — ^at least we hope she does — that materials can never 

However, I have not undertaken to discourse here upon stor}'- 
telling, but only to show how fitly_jt2£iesjLre_placed at the 
base of alljitudjgs jcpnnected with language, and how they all 
spring from exercises with that first fundamental form, the ball 
We have ahready noticed that the earliest lesson upon colours 
will be given in connection with it; the only thing that re- 
mains to be noticed on this part of the table is modeUing. The 

according to FrobeVs Principles. 9 

first childish attempt in this art is directed to model a ball \ 
and though the child never produces a correct sphere, he 
comes nearer to rolling up his lump of clay into a ball than 
he would at this same stage arrive at producing any object of 
greater complexity, or requiring- accurate lines. No one 
who has seen a child model his ball will doubt that this first 
exercise of manual ^productiveness affords him a degree of 
pleasure which may give a new vent to the material instinct of 
activity within him, while exercising his eye and fingers ; and 
few who have not seen it, realize how soon from the ball he 
will make an orange, clearly distinguishing the difference of 
form ; and thence an apple, or a pear, which again lead him 
eagerly to want stalks, and leaves, etc. : or the ball is hollowed 
to form a nest, into which little balls are carefully placed as 
eggs, and thence follows pleasant talk of birds and their haunts, 
the trees, the hedges, etc A little reflection upon this will 
show us how justly Madame de Portugall carries up her section 
of modelling right through the period of school studies till it 
reaches sculpture and the fine arts generally. Not one in 
twenty, perhaps not one in a hundred, it may be, of these 
children will ever reach that stage; they may have no taste, no 
talent, no opportunity for it Yet should they not, the first 
great object of all education has still been forwarded, by the 
drawing out of a natural aptitude, a possession prepared for 
after use if needed, for delight whenever used. 

If we follow on the table the other lines that are carried up 
fi:om the ball games to the division of school studies, we see in 
the intermediate portion, readitig^^^^ wjdting, and knowledge 
of native place. It requires no explanation to show why the 
former should be placed immediately following language and 
Btories, and therefore be marked with the same coloured lines. 
If we interest children^witli_stories, it is to excite that pleasure 
in knowledge, that interest in Jhfi. life around them, which will 
later seek its own food in books; and it is evident that 

10 Progressive Development 

writing Is only one branch of the study of language— written 
words are, in our state of civilization, only of secondary neces- 
sity to spoken words ; and ?is soon as the child becomes apt 
in speech, he must be led to seek the art of tracing his words 
on paper. Reading arid writing are taught, as you know, 
simultaneously in these schools ; but not in the kindergarten 
proper. Frobel h ad a dread of all the false notions, the half- 
understood words that children get hold of by early reading to 
themselves, and he knew also how short is the time we can 
command for that more important work of developing their 
faculties amid the phenomena of the visible world, before 
book-learning makes its inevitable and ever-growing claim upon 
the understanding and the memory. Thus you see on this 
table reading and writing are placed half-way between kinder- 
garten games and school lessons. They are given over to the 
transition class which receives the child at seven years old to 
prepare him for the change from entirely concrete to partly 
abstract teaching ; from that which appeals tflMthe mind through 
the senses, and that which appeals to the imderstanding mostiy 
or altogether. The knowledge of our native place, which occu- 
pies a parallel position on the table, is also derived, as we 
are shown by the colour of the lines, from language and 
stories, with the addition of gymnastic games. The connection 
of the latter, which may seem obscure to some, is easily traced; 
for the songs which accompany the games generally have 
reference to facts of the animal or vegetable life familiar to the 
children, and which are a part also of that later knowledge. 
They tell sometimes of the seed-time or the harvest, sometimes 
of the dogs or cows, the sheep, or the fowls and pigeons that 
come to be fed. The~^ld's interest is thus excited in his 
immediate surroundings. He quickly wants to know more 
about them, and to noting the difference between field and 
garden, wood and common, hill and flat ground, pond and 
running water, is but a step. The transition-class takes up this 

according to Frobeis Principles. ii 

same familiar knowledge, and carries it on to the first notion 
of local topography, and thence to the first outline of physical 
geography, which, later, will make historic al geography intel- 
ligible and useful, instead of being a mere list of names. The 
child has been led on, step by step, to acquire the knowledge 
he had come to wish for, and each step has helped to make a 
track he will only need to continue. 

It is time now to turn our attention to the other two funda- 
mental forms— the cube and the cylinder— which wo^have here 
on the right and left of the table. All the so-called occupations 
of the kindergarten, all that series of work by which the 
children are trained^ to_accuracy of s ight and manipulation 
while acquiring familiarity with the elements of arithmetic, 
with geometrical forms, and the beauty of symmetrical design, 
begin here, as the children learn to distinguish the various 
lines and angles, the surfaces and peculiarities generally of 
these two fundamental forms, to reproduce them, and de- 
velop other figures from them. Madame de Portugall, as we 
see, divides the occupations derived respectively from the cube 
and the cylinder into four groups, according as their starting 
point is either the solid itself, the surface, the line, or the point 
All fouif groups are found under the head of the cube, three 
only, solids, lines, and surfaces, under that of the cylinder. 
Points are first distinguished by the child in the sharp comer 
of the cube, and therefore such occupations as deal with 
separate points or dots, as, for instance, bead-work, pricking, 
etc, belong to the cube-series only. ^.-^ 

Let us begin with the solids. There we find modelling again 
in both series ; the difference as it is practised in the one or 
the other being in the different forms, whether circular or rect- 
angular^ that are copied in each. Building, on the other hand, 
which is exclusively carried on with r ectan gular pieces, belongs 
to the cubej%series only. If we follow up the lines from both 
these sections to the school work, we find that what has been 

12 Progressive Development 

learned in this manner from the cube and the cylinde r, lead s 
up to^geometry. The table indicates this, as usual, by the 
colour of the lines — ^the vertical lines being of the same blue 
that marks geometry in the school division. When we come 
to surfaces, some of the most important occupations, such as 
paper cutting, paper folding, are common to both series ; they 
only take different directions according as they deal wholly 
with surfaces bounded by straight lines, as when derived from 
the cube, or by partly straight and partiy curved lines, as 
when derived from the cylinder. In the first series they lead 
up again, as we see, to geometry, in the second to drawing 
and needlework. Paper plaiting, one of the favourite occu- 
pations of the younger children, opens a field for instruction 
in various branches ; it leads up to arithmetic from the skill 
it gives in counting, to drawing from the initiation to sym- 
metrical design, to needlework from the manual dexterity 
it requires. This belongs to the cube-series, only dealing 
exclusively with rectangular figures. Occupations based on 
the study of lines only, differ very much one from the other 
in the two series. The cube gives us a great variety, of 
which some, the stick-la)ang, the laths, and the linear drawing, 
form a most important part of kindergarten instruction, and 
which earliest develop tiie child's intelligence, as they lead 
him to compare the direction of lines, the shape and magnitude 
of figures, and to become familiar with geometrical lines and 
angles, and forms, and with their correct names. Some will 
think the latter acquisition is of but little use to him now, but 
they forget that thus we open one more ingress to the inevi- 
tably harder studies of later years. For when those children 
come to a school lesson of geometry, one great difficulty will 
have been smmounted. The terms used will have a meaning 
to them ; to them these figures will be real things, which they 
have handled and constructed, and they will be all the further 
on the way to learning their properties and uses. In the 

according to Probers Principles. 13 

cylinder-series, under the group lines^ we find thread-laying and 
metal rings ; curved surfaces being produced by the former, in 
preparation for learning to trace them with a pencil ; and the 
rings and sections of rings introduce altogether a new element, 
both into the designing of patterns, and into the study of lines 
and forms. For here we have the circle and its divisions, with 
the angles formed at the centre, and the names for all these 
new things to be acquired, and endless new designs to be 

This table enables us to see at a glance what immense variety 
of occupations have been planned in the kindergarten based 
upon the elements provided for us by these two fundamental 
forms ; and those to whom the whole subject is new will, I 
believe, with the aid of some good diagrams of the occupations 
mentioned, learn more of the motives of the system by viewing its 
parts thus grouped and arranged, than by going at once to see 
the practical work. They would, of course, understand any 
one occupation better by seeing it worked at a kindergarten, 
but they will get a better idea of the whole of the educational 
value of the entire method by first studying this table. On the 
other hand, those who are familiar with the practical working, 
and can at once fill up the detail, will often acquire a new 
insight into the principles by having thus brought before them 
the connection, link by link, of earlier and later instruction, 
and seeing side by side in each group the natural position of 
these occupations, which to many appear isolated; which 
many teachers even treat as mere exercises, more or less 
ingenious, that might be taken up in . any order, and chosen 
from at random. This table demonstrates their order, a neces- 
sary one, springing firom a fundamental idea, and it also 
shows their relative importance, enabling us, when we have 
mastered the principle, to distinguish rapidly groups devoted 
to the same purpose, that which affords the most fruitful 
development of the principle, or which points to the most 

14 Progressive Development 

important results. If this were a lecture on the merits of the 
kindergarten system generally, it would be needful to enter 
more closely into the value of each occupation as it influences 
the whole ; but my object this evening is simply to bring pro- 
minently forward the luiity of the system, not merely within 
itself, but as part of an all-embracing system of human culture^ 
and to draw attention, as I have said, to the use of this table in 
making this fact manifest I will not, however, leave the 
subject of the occupations without pointing out to those who 
are only superficially acquainted with the kindergarten what 
minute pains Frobel took to devise the means of drawing out in 
children their faculties of observation, judgment, and activity. 
Now he is not content to do this through one kind of work, 
but through many kinds ; not in one direction, but in many 
directions. Each of these occupations has its own special 
object, but it has also that common object in view — each one 
helps to lay a foundatijsn^fbr .acquiring knowledge, now ot 
number, nowLoCibrm, now of natural history ; and it combines 
with all the other occupations and amusements, in developing 
the latent power of the infent intellect and will. And once 
more, I think that as we thus look at the detail of the kinder- 
garten training as it is given us here arranged in its natufa/ 
groups, we form a better idea of the god to which every 
portion of that detail tends ; a goal beyond the school to which 
we see the instruction immediately pointing, beyond the 
higher instruction to which the school studies stretch out, to 
that real goal of all human life and endeavour — the perfecting 
of the whole nature for the active service of God and man. 

If we return now to the synoptical table, leaving the kinder- 
garten, we come to the space contained between two horizontal 
lines which designates the school period of study. Children of 
the classes above those who attend the elementary infant 
schools generally go to school at seven or eight years old. 
They have, perhaps, already some acquaintance with the art ot 

according to FrobeFs Principles. 15 

reading ; a certain number of these, whose parents have been 
most careful, will know even something of writing and count- 
ing ; all the rest the schoolmaster has to teach. Nor does it 
matter howlittle they know — ^his whole success depends not on 
their power of reading words of two syllables, b^t.^n their 
power of learning; and whether he has to teach arithmetic or 
grammar,~geometry or geography— he must draw largely on the 
faculty of observa tion, of comparison and judgment — and he 
finds them all unused to exercise. He wants_accuracy of hand 
and eye for writing, and drawing, and needlework ; pliancy of 
limb and attention to time for gymnastic exercises ; and he 
has to work with stiff and feeble fingers, with ears unused to 
time, and eyes unused to form. But, on the other hand, if his 
pupils come to him at eight years old from the kindergarten, 
with its transition classes, then, as this table shows us, each 
branch of necessary instruction rests upon a foundation already 
acquired, or is aided by faculties already exercised. 

We all know what the general programme of school instruc- 
tion is, and we have it in outline here. It may be gathered 
under three groups: — Language^ represented at first by the 
mother-tongue, and grammar, and general history ; the science 
of form and number, represented by arithmetic, geometry, and 
drawing ; and natural science, beginning with natural history 
and cosmography. To these may, indeed should be, added 
music and gymnastics for both sexes, and needlework for girls. 
These are valuable as portions of the training of the active 
powers and of the senses which ^school education so sadly 
neglects. The most indispensable instruction must embrace 
the three groups enumerated above, and all further instruction 
takes its departure from them. Now, if we look at the table 
and notice the colour of the lines which are traced under each 
school subject, we see the lines . similarly coloured coming up 
from below from some branch of kindergarten training, higher 
amid the games or occupations which were derived from one or 

1 6 Progressive Development 

other of the three fundamental forms ; and this kindergarten 
work has trained the very aptitude required for such or such 
branch of school work, or laid down the first lines of the know- 
ledge school instruction purports to impart. Nothing, as you 
see, which is brought before the schoolboy (or girl) isaEiblutely 
strange to him. It is, indeedJeaSing him to the unknown, 
but it is linked to the known. As compared with the labour 
of the untraine3 children, it is like learning a new piece of 
poetry in one's own tongue as compared with learning a series of 
words in a foreign language. Once more let me point out how 
this table helps to fix attention on that most important fact, pf 
the connexion of all the apparently trivial occupations of a 
nursery class with the difficult lessons and discipline of school 
years, and through them with the wider studies and experience 
which finally fit man out for the highest moral and intellectual 
labour. Opponents of the system, or careless observers, may, 
perhaps, say that continuity is in one sense a natural and in- 
evitable one; whatever a child learns by himself, or firom 
others, the story he reads, the sum he is forced to do, the 
animals that he sees around him, the weary grammar over which 
■ he sheds his tears, are all connected, somehow or other, with the 
knowledge of later years, is absorbed into it, and becomes a 
part of the intellectual store. Yes — somehow or other I But 
with Frohel it, is purposed beforehand — it is done in orderly 
sequence; and each game or occupatioaJias-its special object 
of exercising some faculty, of cultivating some quality, in a 
methodical manner for future use, and to do this through the 
means of instruction which lay« the methodical foundation for 
ftiture instruction. 

And if a table like this could mark the moral growth, as it 
marks the lines of intellectual development, we should see that 
the qualities most needed by boy and man — the^patienf re- 
solution that overcomes difficulties, the love <^ tnith-that is 
cultivated by perfect accuracy of wo^k and expression, the 

according to FrdbeFs Principles. 1 7 

kindly feelings generated by sharing the work and success of 
others, free^in of bought and invention which lead to 
respecting the work and the freedom of others, reverence for 
all greatness and goodness which is the germ of religion — are 
casting their roots into the character by the aid of that same 
early discipImeiT ready to expand and strengthen as life 
becomes freer and ridier in action and opportunities^ 

We have nearly completed our survey of the table. We 
have examined it through the portion devoted to the kinder- 
garten, through the school portion, and, finally, we may trace 
the upper branches of this tree of culture, whose root is in the 
ball games. Those branches are still gathered in the same 1 
groups, only modified as they enlarge. Language now em- \ 
braces literature and all that bears on human life and conduct 
tending to the highest philosophy ; science becomes wider, in 
some directions, and more abstract in others ; the study of form 
becomes the study of the fine arts ; and in this highest stage 
of their progress, while each branch demands more special 
cultivation, yet the links that bind them all become more 
apparent. The close affinities that underlie^ all sections of the 
great field of knowledge begin to be felt, and amid the widest 
divergencies of special researches there is seen to be a higher 
harmony in which they converge in the same great search for 
truth. Lord Bacon has somewhere made a fine remark on the 
different order of minds that love to seek resemblances or 
differences, the latter occupying the larger number; while the 
higher toned minds seek the resemblance in which apparent 
differences meet and rise above men's knowledge to philosophy 
and the higher efforts of imagination. It is the same with the 
course of human culture as men advance towards the full 
development of their nature. While special studies demand 
their time and claim the exercise of special aptitudes, the mind 
accustomed to the exercise of all its powers cannot be thus 
limited in its interests and sympathieSi and tends more and 


i8 Progressive Development^ &e. 

morei as the nature ripens and expands, to rise from the lower 
ground of separate action, to the higher level of philosophic 
thought and union. 

To few is it given to reach these serene heights ; but inde- 
2nitely higher than it now is might be the stand-point of all, 
«f education were systematically directed to the full develop- 
ment of each man's nature, according to the means of his 
natural faculties and opportunities ; if no conventional barriers, 
no dreary morass of neglect, hemmed in the mental growth. 
How many, now blind to any necessary connection between 
morals and knowledge, between active life and a life of con- 
templation or study, how many wandering in apparently 
opposing tracks of work and opinion, would, if so educated, be 
able at least to feel the unity of all separate endeavours to read 
the laws of God as inscribed on the face of nature and in the 
heart of man, and recognize the duty of living in willing 
obedience to them. 

To keep this foremost as the ideal of life is the true purpose 
of education, to which all special cultivation, all men's acquire- 
ments, must ever be subordinate. Frobel never loses sight of 
this purpose, and from the crt^e^ from the ball games with the 
infants, to the fulness of self-qonscious endeavours in the high- 
est pursuits of science and philosophy, directs us ceaselessly to 
it If then Madame de Portugall by this visible outline of his 
system helps to make this, his highest aim, more clearly mani- 
fest, to keep it more distinctly before the minds of all kinder- 
garten teachers, we may gladly accept her help, and thank hei 
for this new service to the caus& 




By anna BUCKLAND, 

Amc»ngst the great thinkers who have planned schemes of 
education, Frobel, above all others, founds his syistem on the 
wide principle, that the highest type of humanity which edu- 
cation can produce is reached by the equal and simultaneous 
growth of every faculty. He studies the child as it is, taking 
it as from God, and cm the knowledge gained by close and 
patient observation of the child's nature, he plans a system of 
development the result of which is to be, not the expression 
of an individual educator's ideal of humanity, but the full, 
rich, harmonious life of every faculty, the germs of which he 
finds in the child. Hence Frobel's system provides for the 
nourishment of every root in its earliest stage, on the ground, 
that all are essential to a noble, perfect growth, and that 
one-sided culture at any stage produces contraction and 

Starting from these two fundamental principles — ^first, that 
the development of every faculty existing in the child is 
essential for the production of the highest type of humanity ; 
and, secondly, that for perfect, harmonious development there 

c 2 

20 Tlie Use of Stories 

must be simultaneous growth — ^we are not surprised to find 
that in FrobePs system aesthetic culture occupies at starting a 
large space. 

He notices that, of all the mental faculties, the aesthetic is 
one of the first to unfold in the mind of a child ; and he 
concludes, therefore, that its training and culture have imme- 
diate claims on the educator. Whatever the use of aesthetics 
may be to the child in the work of gaining the neans of 
material existence in future life, is not in question; the 
feet that the faculty is there, is sufficient to show that it is 
one of the essential roots by means of which the child's 
nature receives nourishment, needful for its perfect, healthy, 
vigorous growth. Frobel does not presume, therefore, to treat 
aesthetics as the mere ornaments of life — " the efflorescence 
of civilization," as Herbert Spencer calls them — the culture of 
which may be deferred to some far distant day of idle leisure 
in a future, golden age, in order meantime to press forward 
the studies necessary for the preservation and maintenance of 
material existence. "When," says Herbert Spencer, "the 
forces of Nature have been fiiUy conquered to man's use, 
when the means of production have been brought to perfec- 
tion, when labour has been economized to the highest degree, 
when education has been so systematized that a preparation 
for the more essential activities may be made with compara- 
tive rapidity, and when consequently there is a great increase 
of spare time, then will the Beautifiil both in Art and Nature 
rightly fill a large space in the minds of all." 

If it were possible to contract education into a training, 
which had for its first object the obtaining of the means for 
improved material existence, we might ask whether the race so 
trained were likely to have any large space of mind left, to be 
filled by Beauty, in the idle years, after Nature had been 
forced to contribute all she could to man's material prosperity. 
A civilization which was separated firom aesthetics would tend 

in the Kindergarten. 21 

rather to 'May waste our powers/' and lead us on at last to 
say — 

'• Little we see in Nature that is ours, 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon« 
This sea, that bares her bosom to the moon. 
The winds, that will be howling at a]l hour% 
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers» 
For this — for everything, we are out of tune ; 
It moves us not.** • • • • 


But a one-sided system of education, even when advanced 
by so earnest and noble a thinker as Herbert Spencer, must 
in the end be counteracted by Nature herself, who, by coni v 
tinually re-asserting her power, defeats all attempts to cramp ^ ;i^^ 
her energies in any direction. The vitality of the sesthetic 
faculty cannot be extinguished by any system which denies it 
culture, much as it may lose in truth of action for lack of due 
training. Early history and early literature prove to us that 
the sense of the Beautiful in Nature and in cliaracter wakes 
into vigorous life before man begins to concern himself about 
the material wealth laid up in Nature's storehouse, or to seek 
to turn it to his use through intellect and labour. It is the 
same in individual life ; the first perceptions of the child are of 
beauty. The baby crows with delight at the beauty of the 
round, silvery moon in the dark sky, and the little child gazes 
with tender love at the beauty of the daisies in the green grass, 
long before he concerns himself as to the relation to his 
physical life of the heavenly bodies and of the productions of 
the earth. 

Those who believe with Frobel that each little child is a 
thought of God will readily grant that this early unfolding of 
the aesthetic faculty is a part of the Divine plan ; for it is by 
means of this faculty that, as soon as the knowledge of God 
is presented to the little child, he is able to perceive at once 
the beauty of goodness in the Divine character, and the sense 

2^ The Vse qf Stories 

of this beauty calls forth emotions of admiration^ love, joy, 
and reverence. 

We see, therefore, why Frobel gives so large a space in 
his system to aesthetic culture ; and why he places it at once 
under the hands of the skilled educator. He sees how this 
faculty is one of the essential roots on which growth depends, 
that it must be supplied at once with fitting nourishment; 
and he perceives that it is connected with the most solemn 
relations and duties of human existence. We find, therefore, 
in the Kindergarten, that the means are provided by which 
the aesthetic faculty may be developed and trained to a keen 
perception of beauty in form, colour, and sound, as well as in 
chaiacter and life. Artistic design, lessons on form, combi« 
nations of colours, drawing, modelling in day, fiowers and 
beautiful natural objects, music, poetry, and imaginative litera- 
ture, are all provided, as necessary to the earUest education of 
the child. It is of the imaginative literature alone that we 
now have to speak. 

A glance at Madame de Portugall's synoptical table shows 
OS that the line which in later education is marked as litera- 
ture is reached from stories in the Kindergarten. Literature 
is thus recognized as necessary at starting for the complete 
development of the child. It is not to be regarded merely as 
a source of amusement, but is to be placed among the 
essentials of education. We may notice here the deeper 
insight which Frobel has into the nature of children, as well 
as into the meaning and purposes of literature, if we observe 
the vfew which Professor Bain takes of imaginative literature 
in his scheme of education. He sees in it only <'a means 
for indulging the emotions" — " an ingredient in the satisfac- 
ivcm of life,'' and goes on — '' In addition to our enjoyment 
gained from realities, we crave for the contribution to our 
enjoyment \i4iich comes firom ideality. Now Ideality is a 
different thing for different ages, fairy tales and eiOiavaganzas 

/;/ the Kindergarten. 23 

for the young ; the Poetry of Milton for the old. There is 
nothing educative in the first instance, we are not aiming at 
instruction, but drinking in emotion. The gratifying of 
children with the Literature of Imagination is a matter for 
the parent, as much as giving them country walks, or holiday 
treats." -^ 

It is true that the education of a child is by no means con- 
fined to the school-room ; and the purposes which imaginative 
literature serves may be answered by the stories given to 
children by thoughtful parents, as well as by their use in the 
Kindergarten. The point of difference between Frobel and 
Bain is not, whether stories are to be given in or out of the 
school-room, but whether they are to be called " educative. *• 
And the reason why Professor Bain denies this term to 
imaginative literature is, that he does not hold the aesthetic 
faculty to be one of those roots, the constant and fitting 
nourishment of which is essential to the perfect growth and 
development of the whole being. He regards the aesthetic 
faculty as one that may very well be left out df education 
altogether, which serves no great purpose in life, and is only a 
means for an increase of selfish enjoyment It is agamst 
this view that we give some of the uses of stories in the 
Kindergarten ; admitting that the same ends may be served 
by stories at home ; but especially urging that they should be 
used as means of development and training, and not as a 
mere holiday gratification : for if the stories of childhood are 
to be sought as a means only for exciting emotion, and put 
out of the sphere of education altogether, the line of stories 
will not lead up to Milton in oldor life, but to the sensational 
novel, or gossiping journal. 

In giving some of the chief uses of stories in the Kinder- 
garten, we are at the same time using arguments for the study 
of literature in later education ; but it must not be forgotten 
that there are many important advantages in the study of 

24 The Use of Stories 

our beat writers, besides those gained in the early use of 

Stories are the child's first introduction into that grand 
world of the ideal in character and life ; and the first and 
highest use of stories is to enable a child to form a pure and 
noble ideal of what man may be and do. A child who is 
taught only certain moral precepts, and who has no representa- 
tion put before him of these truths expressed in characters 
and actions, rising above the common level, will lack the 
courage, the energy, the aspiration, and still more the humility, 
necessary to raise his own character and life to the highest 

••We live by Admiration, Hope, and Love,. 
And even as these are well and wisely fixed. 
In dignity of being we ascend." 

A second use of stories is in the illustrations they supply to 
children of the laws governing life. The lesions of experience 
are only learnt in the course of years ; and children have at 
once to begin to live in a world in which they are strangers. 
We may tell children that certain causes produce certain 
effects, but the lesson is soon forgotten ; if the law, however, 
is shown in action in a story, the consequences remain fixed 
in the mind, and again and again through life serve as a guide 
under similar circumstances. An intelligent old gardener, 
whose family are now risen in the world and well known, used 
to read to his children directions for conduct from the Bible, 
and then illustrate these by stories from Shakespeare's Plajrs : 
and this showing of the great truths of life in their proper 
action in the world gave the lessons a living power, that could 
not pass away. 

A third use of stories is the sense they give a child of a 
world beyond his own ; and thus, next to companionship, they 
serve to destroy that egotbm which looks on self as centre of 

in the Kindergarten. 2$ 

all things. The child perceives that he stands in brotherly 
relation to children he has never seen or known, but who 
enjoy what he does, who have the same difficulties and 
temptations to overcome, and from this knowledge spring up 
a genial love for others and the cheerful courage that the 
sense of companionship gives. 

A fourth use of stories is for the development of sympathy, 
or the imagination of the heart Stories bring before a child 
a large amount of human experience, with which he would 
otherwise be unfamiliar ; but by the help of imagination he 
can conceive what others suffer or enjoy \ and thus, without 
unduly exciting emotion, it can be kept in healthy exercise ; 
and the child is trained to quickness of perception in regard 
to the feelings of others, and is prepared for entering into 
joys and sorrows beyond his actual range of experience. 

A fifth use of stories is in bringing the power of example to 
bear upon children. The true influence of example, we must 
notice, is not that of a pattern to be copied ; children should 
not be encouraged to practise direct imitations of particular 
actions, which are held up to admiration, because this leads 
only to a petty vain attempt to repeat what has been 
admired, in hope of getting the same applause. But the real 
power of example lies in the special inspiration it gives to a 
particular principle of conduct. For this reason, the best 
example stories are those taken from times or countries in 
which life was different from the present, so that the action 
may not be literally repeated, but that it may rather rouse to 
greater vigour the principle or feeling upon which the special 
action was founded. The story of the good Samaritan, with 
its close, " Go and do likewise," illustrates the true meaning 
and force of example stories. 

In the use of stories in the Kindergarten, it is important 
that the stock should not be too large. The repetition of a 
story is not tedious to children. They delight in an old storj'. 

25 The Use of Stories 

for all the world is new to them, and they seek a rest from 
novelty in familiarity ; just as, when the world grows old to us, 
we seek a change from monotony in novelty. An old stoiy 
has a growing influence upon children, whilst the first effect 
of a new story is often scarcely felt In fact a good story 
cannot be thoroughly imderstood, nor can it answer all the 
purposes it is meant to serve, until it has been repeated many 
times. The notion that children's stories have in them nothing 
educative, that they are to be classed only among the gratifi- 
cations of life, has led to their being supplied to children in 
such abundance that they are often only skipped through and 
thrown aside. One strong plea for the use of stories in the 
Kindergarten is, that they may be really studied and under- 
stood, so as to serve for the true development and training of 
the child, and not for the undue stimulation of the imagina- 
tion into a spurious, irregular life. It is scarcely necessary to 
say that the stories selected for the Kindergarten should be 
true to the principles of good literature ; that they should be 
simple and free from casuistry, false sentiment, and exaggera- 
tions of every kind ; that they should be of bright and delicate 
fancy, sweet, tender, and true. 

A short analysis of children's literature may, perhaps, be 
helpful in guiding the choice of stories for the Kindergarten. 
We will divide it into the usual classes of Ideal, or purely 
imaginative literatiure, and Realistic, or having a form taken 
from life in the actual world. Under the head of imaginative 
literature, we place fairy-stories, allegories, and fables. We 
will take the composition of a fairy-story first, not only 
because a fairy-story has the greatest charm for children, but 
also because it is really one of the higher forms of literature. 
The idea in the minds of many story-tellers, and story-writers 
*oo, is that a fairy-story means any jumble of incidents, in 
which for no distinct purpose or design natural laws are set 
at defiance. But the very meaning of the word " faerie " is 

in the Kindergarten. 2jr 

spiritual ; and if we analyze one of the genuine old fairy- 
stories, we shall nearly always find that there is at the heart ol 
it some great spiritual truth, which forms the soul, as it were, 
of the story. The incidents of the story are all designed for 
the purpose of showing this truth in action ; and what makes 
it " faerie " is, that in order to give the fireest scope for the 
working out of the truth, fency may create a world for the 
action of it — a world in which there is no restriction from 
natural laws and material necessities. It is in fact a kind of 
superior action given to spirit over matter. 

We may illustrate the composition of a true fairy-story by 
a brief analysis of " The Sleeping Beauty." The inner truth at 
the heart of this story is, that hatred works death — " he that 
hateth his brother is a miurderer " — ^but love is stronger than 
hatred, and it is through love alone that the works of hatred 
are to be destroyed. First there is the christening of the new 
child; at the very beginning its life is threatened by the 
hatred of the malignant fairy, out of revenge because she was 
not invited to the feast. The child is to die, though the curse 
is afterwards changed into the death-like sleep, which is deatli 
as regards all the purposes of life. The king tries to defeat 
the curse of hatred by the unspiritual means of destroying all 
the spindles in his kingdom; but this, of course, is of no avail 
The day comes when, in spite of this precaution, the maiden 
finds the wicked fairy spinning. She takes the spindle, pricks 
herself, and immediately sinks with all the world around her 
into the death-like sleep. Around the castle grows the thick 
hedge of thorns and briers, as high as the towers, so that it 
cannot be leapt over ; and this is set by hatred to prevent the 
entrance of love into the world of death. Then one after 
another the princes come ; they wish to see the beauty of the 
sleeping maiden ; but this desire cannot carry them through 
the thorns and briers. A hundred years pass away, and 
the curse of hatred still works; time, that all things else 

28 The Use of Stories 

destroys, has in itself no power to impair the strength of the 
curse. At last, in due time, the true prince appears. He is 
counselled by prudent people not to try to enter- the castle, 
for he cannot do so but through suffering, and the end may 
be only death. But the prospect of suffering, or death, can- 
not daunt him ; love is stronger than fear and the instinct of 
self-preservation. He approaches the hedge, and the thorns 
and briers are to him but as fragrant roses — this is the first 
victory of love over the obstacles placed by hatred in the way 
of its ultimate triumph. The roses close behind him, and 
become again thorns and briers ; love can carry him forward, 
but there is no smoothing of the way for retreat At length he 
enters the castle. The whole world within shares in the sleep 
of death. The dogs in the castle-yard, the pigeons on the 
roof, the flies on the window-panes, the servants in the kitchen, 
the courtiers, the king and the queen, all lie under the power 
of hatred. At the first expression of a love which can "give 
and hazard all," the whole world of death wakes to life, with 
the freshness and vigour of a new spring-day. The deadly 
curse of hatred is destroyed; thought and work are filled 
with energy ; ever3rthing is in action. " And they all lived 
happily to the end," is the conclusion of the fine old story. 

If we analyze in the same way any other of the genuine old 
fairy-stories, such as " Cinderella," or " Mrs. HoUe," we shall find 
that the play of fancy is not the mere irregular wandering of 
a dream, but that there is distinct unity of design in the 
incidents, while at the heart of all of them lies some great 
immortal truth, which gives them their hold on generation 
after generation, and will preserve them in the perpetual 
freshness of child-like beauty as long as the world shall last 

It is in contrasting the old fairy-stories with such books as 
" Alice's Adventures in Wonderland " that we feel the more 
strongly the artistic perfection of the old stories. Natural 
laws and ordinary combinations are set aside in the Alice 

in t/ie Kindergarten. 29 

books, not that fancy may have free scope to create a world 
for the working out of any great spiritual truth, but only for 
the sake of the odd effect which incongruity produces. It is 
Wonderland, but it is not Fairyland. There is humour in 
the incongruity ; but it requires familiarity with ordinary laws 
and combinations to feel the humour of incongruity; and 
children are much less struck with the odd effect than older 
people; as a little child once asked — "Why shouldtCt a 
walrus go out with a carpenter?" Children miss also the 
slight satire which underlies some parts, and, together with the 
humour, gives to the bright fancy of these books a charm for 
older readers. 

Allegories are more spiritualized than fairy-stories, and 
have less of human interest. In an allegory, the personages 
of the story are not human beings, but represent single 
abstract qualities. The scene also of the story, though 
taken from the material world, is composed of objects, most 
of which are symbols. There is consequently less unity of 
idea, and less unity of art, in the construction of an allegory. 
They serve good purpose in direct religious teaching, and in 
moral training. They are useful also in training children to 
understand symbols, and to see readily the relation of form 
to essence, and the fitness of certain material things to express 
abstract qualities. This will prepare them, not only for the 
later study of our great classic allegories of English literature, 
but also for the understanding of poetry, and of many parts 
of the Bible ; and will enable them to see in Nature, not only 
the beauty of material form, but the deep truths she teaches, 
so that — " The earth and common face of Nature " may speak 
to them " rememberable things." 

Fables are stories of imagination, in that speech is given to 
animals. The essence of a fable is the representation of the 
faults and follies of human beings, as reflected in the sayings 
and doings of the lower creation. A fable is therefore neces- 

30 The Use of Stories 

sarily a satire ; and this is an element^ of literature which it 
would be dangerous for children to learn to love for its own 
sake. It requires, therefore, careful use in the Kindergarten, 
and should be reserved only for minor faults common among 
the children themselves. A good-natured, hearty laugh at the 
reflection of ourselves in a fable is a very wholesome thit^ ; 
lut if the laugh is a sneer at humanity, there is a fear of 
destroying reverence and love. 

Realistic stories are those best fitted for illustrating the laws 
by which life is governed, and thus showing to children that 
the consequences which foUpw conduct are as sure as the 
sequence of cause and effect A good realistic story should 
consist of one general law of life, shown in its ordinary legiti- 
mate action. The scenes for the action must be the real 
world of human character and life. Though a realistic story 
is thus a sketch from nature, it must be a picturcy and not a 
mere photograph. The attempt to imitate exactly the sayings 
and doings of children, as in the books called "Helen's 
Babies " and " Tott/s Book," though very amusing to read, 
is not real literature, because there is no artistic purpose or 
design in them. Jane Austen's novels are some of the best 
examples in literature of good realistic stories. There is in 
each a distinct, intelligent purpose, which is artistically worked 
out in characters and scenes, drawn entirely from the living 
around her. 

As one object of realistic stories for children is to accustom 
them to expect certain results as the consequences of certain 
actions, it is important that they should deal with the simple, 
ordinary laws of life, and not with paradoxes or exceptions. 
In mature literature it has been the work of siome of the 
finest master-hands to show how the action of a lower law may 
be on occasions set aside by the intervention of a higher, and 
that we have to take into consideration a wider range in pre- 
jicting results ; but exceptions only puzzle children, who use 

in the Kindergarten. 31 

them at once for generalizing, and it is important to establish 
first the general law as the common rule for conduct Extra- 
ordinary stories, in which wholly inadequate means are re- 
presented as producing desired results, lay the foundations 
of idleness and recklessness of consequences in after life, and 
are the cause of much bad work and senseless disregard of 
natural laws. Perfect truthfulness to nature is essential in a 
good realistic story. The incidents must be such as naturally 
follow certain causes; the characters must represent real, 
living children of the true type, not precocious exceptions j 
and the feeling must be neither of a kind unusual in a child, 
nor of a degree beyond what the situation requires. Children 
so soon detect falseness, and every attempt to produce impres- 
sion by exaggeration wakens distrust in the mind of a child, 
almost unconsciously to himself. 

A realistic story for children must not only be true to life, 
but the characters and scenes should be taken from that por- 
tion of life which belongs to children. It is a principle of the 
best school of literature, that all subjects are not subjects for 
art; because art has a purpose of its own, which is not 
answered by the merely artistic treatment of every kind of 
subject The highest function of art is to lead the mind to 
the love of the beautiful in nature and human life ; and in 
mature literature the glory of the highest ideal cannot be 
shown without showing the hard conflict, the upward struggle 
through darkness and evil to the last victory of light and duty; 
but the introductioir of mature evil into children's literature, 
before they have to enter into conflict with it, and before 
faith has taken such root as to assure the final victory of good, 
has a most injurious and depressing effect upon a child's mind. 
It is needful for the Kindergarten teacher to keep this in 
mind, because so many stories for children have appeared of 
late depicting the low current of London life, and dealing, not 
with the faults of childhood, but with the mature sins of 

32 TJie Use of Stories 

drunkenness, brutaKty, and coarse vice. True temperance 
stories for children are those in which the nobleness of self- 
denial and control over appetite is shown; and feelings of 
compassion for the erring are most truly and effectually trained 
in childhood by calling out pity for a companion in age who 
has yielded to a mutual temptation. The world of the poor 
belongs to the life of children ; and stories of the poor, of the 
hardships they have to endure, are useful in awakening sym- 
pathy ; there are also in such stories to be found the highest 
examples of patience and unselfish love. 

Stories that belong to other subjects of culture have also 
their place in the Kindergarten ; but these may be left to their 
own special lines. Such are Bible stories, natural history 
stories, stories of travel and adventure, biography or history. 

It has been taken for granted that, in using stories in the 
Kindergarten, the stories are read by the teacher, and told to 
the children. It is sometimes said that telling stories is a 
gift ; but it is only an art, more easy at first to some persons 
than to others. The chief reason why some persons cannot tell 
stories is because they have " no story to telL" They have 
only a dim, confused picture of one in the mind, and the first 
thing to be done is to get this vague image perfectly clear and 
vivid. For this purpose, it will be necessary for them to read 
the story over several times; and in order to be sure that 
the impression is strong enough to reproduce it accurately, 
and without any hesitation^ it may be useful to write it from 
memory, and compare it with the original. 

The next thing is to look for the leading idea, or inner 
truth, of the story, and then mark the strong points of the 
narrative. They are the features that express the soul, as it 
were, and in telling the story they will require the greatest 
prominence; and if the teacher supplies additional details, 
these should all tend to the further illustration of the leading 
idea. Children love details, but unnecessary particulars only 

tn the Kindergarten^ 33 

confuse, and destroy effect If, for instance, a room has to be 
described, the first point to be determined is what idea the 
room has to express, as poverty, cheerfulness, disorder ; and 
then only such details as strengthen the idea, and conform to 
it, need be given. Teachers who picture Bible scenes often 
quite destroy the effect of the narrative, because they do not 
preserve the relation between the details they supply and the 
leading idea of the story. 

It is better in narration to keep to one single line, and 
avoid episodes ; for children easily lose a thread ; and if their 
interest has once been diverted, it is difficult for them to 
return to the former line. It is often necessary, therefore, to 
sacrifice the idea of the simultaneous action of two lines of 
narration in order to complete one, before taking up the 
other. For instance, in telling the story of the First Book of 
Spenser's " Faerie Queene," to a class of children from twelve 
to fourteen, it was found necessary, at the part where the 
Red Cross Knight and Una are separated, to continue the 
adventures of the Red Cross Knight up to the point where he 
meets Una again, and then to take up Una's story, and telJ 
that continuously to the same point Spenser, it wiU be 
remembered, preserves the idea of simultaneous action, by 
taking up the story of each in ^temate cantos ; but children, 
even of that age, were incapable of carrying on the two lines 
of narrative at the same time, and tangled the threads of the 
story. It is desirable in the repetition of a story to keep as 
nearly as possible to the first version of it Children see at 
once the details of a story, and retain a vivid impression of 
ihem in the inward eye. They are always ready to correct the 
slightest deviation from the original with a serious air of 
reproof, for it is associated in their minds with a want of truth- 
fulness. Thus in telling a story, it was once said, there were 
three plates on the shelf. Every bright Httle mental eye saw 
the three plates, as plainly as possible ; and when, on repeat- 


34 The Use of Stories 

ing the story, it was said there were two plates on the shelfj 
an indignant exclamation at once arose, — " There were three 
plates, last time there were three plates." A charitable little 
child suggested, " But perhaps one has been broken since last 
time " ; the general feeling, however, was, that the second ver- 
sion was not strictly truthful. 

Conversations have much more effect if related in the first 
person ; and this form also gives the story-teller opportunity 
for varying the voice and manner, according to the character 
of the speaker. Children always begin to brighten into eager 
interest directly the story becomes dramatic ; and more feel- 
ing can be given to the touching passages. 

The use of expectation and surprise is helpful in keeping 
up the interest of little children, and questions and guesses 
recall their attention at once, if it should have wandered. If, 
however, these are used too much, children sometimes become 
rather confused between the guesses of the class and the facts 
of the story. 

The difficulty of telling stories to children is one which, like 
all others, disappears by practice. Persons who are unac- 
customed to be with children often fancy they cannot tell 
stories, but if they only get the outlines of one story thoroughly 
and clearly impressed in their own minds, and repeat this 
story a few times to children, they will find that very soon they 
can tell it easily and well They can then in the same way 
try another and another. It has been well said that the 
best way, when you think you cannot;^ do a thing, is to 
go and do it And certainly there is no art in the world 
which can be learned only from directions, nor is there any 
talent so great that it can attain success without practice. In 
the majority of cases, it is impossible for any one to decide 
that he is lacking in the necessary ability for any art until he 
has done his best for some time to acquire it. If a Kinder- 
garten teacher believes she has no gift for telling stories, let 

in tJu Kindergarten. 35 

her try what she can do without a gift, and the probability is, 
that she will find herself more richly endowed than she thought 
she was. It used to be said that teaching was a gift, and 
so in a certain sense it is ; but we are beginning to find out 
that it is a gift which nearly every good and loving woman 
possesses, only she may not at once know just how to use it 
The very love for little children, and the sympathy with them, 
which lie at the heart of the Kindergarten system, will 
teacK its teachers how to put before the minds of children 
bright pictures from that grand world of the ideal in which the 
little ones often seem to be more at home than in the real 

In taking up in this paper the single line of imaginative 
literature in the Kindergarten scheme, it will readily be under- 
stood that no plea is put forward lot giving it any other than 
its due place amongst thgse subjects which help to promote 
harmonious growth and development. No comparison is 
intended between the claims of literature and science as agents 
of education ; because both are believed to be of equal neces- 
sity to the formation of a complete character, and to a prepara- 
tion for the duty and work of life. In a system of education 
which has a place for every God-given faculty (A man, there 
can be no attempt at estimating education values, so as to 
bring one class of subjects forward to the neglect of another. 
The Kindergarten system says rather, with Milton, " Let us 
be humbly wise." Let us take the little child as a thought of 
God, and in faith and trust cultivate every faculty of its 
nature; assured that the realization of the Divine ideal in 
humanity must be its highest type, and that the man or 
woman, who is most capable of a full, rich, complete life as 
an individual, is most fitted for advancing the progress of the 
race in all the best work (A this world, as well as best prepared 
for all that may be beyond this world of immortal growth and 

D 2 




I HAVE chosen the physical education of girls for considera- 
tion to-night, because it is a subject most fit to engage the 
attention of all friends of the Kindergarten, from the fact that 
the need for such education for girls begins when they pass 
out of the Kindergarten or the nursery into the schoolroom. 
While in the Kindergarten they have very properly their 
instruction, their exercise, and their play, in common with 
little boys; and it would, I believe, be well if this life in 
common were continued, under careful supervision, through 
later childhood. We have, however, to take things as we find 
them, and to consider the special needs of girls in respect of 
physical education in the present state of society in England, 
where co-education of the sexes is discountenanced by the 
majority of unthinking and by some thinking persons, and 
where, in general, the proper adjustments are wanting which 
would make co-education of the sexes both harmless and 

Infants need only be allowed to kick and fling about 
their little limbs fireely, imtrammelled by tight or volumi- 
nous clothing. Their life is spent between sleep, food, and 
exercise, with a large margin for the latter. Sickly infants ever 
require medical supervision chiefly in order that their sur 
foundings may be wisely regulated, suitable food, air, and 

Physical Edueatun of Girls. 37 

exercise ensured, and the infant organism placed in the best 
possible conditions for returning to the healthy standard from 
which some mischance has caused it to deviate. Healthy 
infants do not require systematized g5nnnastic exercises. If 
their limbs are allowed full play, they will invent the best of 
exercises for themselves, some of them complicated and 
comical enough, as, for instance, the feat common to all babies, 
and which no physical educator has ever attempted to rival, of 
thrusting the toes into the mouth — a feat which requires for 
its successful accomplishment much steady and persevering 
preparatory exercise of whole groups of muscles. Sickly 
infants may require parts of their muscular system to be 
specially acted upon and strengthened, so as to restore the lost 
balance and bring all parts of the body into harmonious rela- 
tion, but healthy infants will thrive all the better for a little of 
that wholesome neglect which consists in letting them play and 
even use their left hand unchecked. It has been well said by 
a wise friend of children :* " We may leave the infant to 
nature for exercise ; it will be well attended to and carried 
through an efficient course of training, reaching every muscle 
of the body, which we should find it difficult to imitate by 

Little children in a Kindergarten intelligently conducted 
may be said to live in an atmosphere of healthful activity. 
Daily orderly exercise gives them such command over their 
various groups of muscles that tkey accomplish with uncon- 
scious vigour and grace movements which the imtrain^d child 
goes through clumsily and awkwardly, the clumsiness and 
awkwardness resulting from a want of co-ordination in the con- 
traction of muscles which must act together with great delicacy, 
in obedience to a common impulse communicated from the 
will, in order to execute many apparently simple movements, 
such as shaking hands, drawing on a slate, marching, halting 

• Dr. ElizAbeth Blackwell, ** Lectures on the Laws of Life^" 1871. 

38 Physical Education of Girls. 

suddenly, &c. Of course, little chfldren who grow up in the 
country, and lead a free out-door life, sliding, jumping, swim- 
ming, climbing trees, throwing stones, and engaging in all 
kinch of work and of laborious play, may acquire such control 
over their muscular system as leaves little to be desired. It 
is the great merit of the Kindergarten that it is adapted to 
the wants of town-bred children, debarred from such natural 
pastimes, as well as to the wants of indolent, ungainly children, 
and that it renders even the latter apt to execute without 
awkwardness a great variety of combined movements either 
slowly, quickly, or with moderate quickness; apt, in short, to 
exercise control over their whole muscular apparatus, and to 
adjust it to the requirements of their will. 

The senses, too, which in the majority of Httle town-bred 
children of the middle and upper classes are cut off from an 
adequate supply of objects on which to exercise themselves, 
and by exercise to develop steadily and healthfully, are 
methodically trained in the Kindergarten into habits of 
activity, strengthened by daily pleasurable use, and sharpened 
by carefully planned exercises and games, which, while they 
educate, afford at the same time much innocent amusement 
and delight 

While on the subject of Kindergartens it may not be out of 
place to insist on one indispensable condition of their success, 
viz. that they be intelligently conducted by able, cultured, 
and efficiently trained women. To give the necessary profes- 
sional training is the aim of the recently founded London 
Kindergarten Training College ; and it is the earnest hope of 
its founders that it may be the means of educating a band of 
faithful, devoted, large-minded, and large-hearted Kindergarten 
teachers, who will go out into the English-speaking world as 
missionaries of the educational reform which Frobel inaugu- 
rated, and which appeals so powerfully to the best instincts 
and sympathies of every mother's heart This reform must be 

Physical Education of Girls, 39 

worked for, I again repeat, intelligently and reasonably by 
adapting the Kindergarten system to the special circumstances 
of every country, by modifying details of management when 
found necessary, by allowing even of the possibility of further 
development in the future. In short, Frobel must take his 
proper place as a great reformer, an enthusiastic and enlight- 
ened friend of little children, who systematized and simplified 
the educational methods which the best mothers and teachers 
of all ages, led by their intuitive perception of the requirements 
of very young children, have always been in the habit of em- 
ploying. He must not be set up as an idol to be blindly 
worshipped and implicitly obeyed, whose precepts are* to 
supersede reason and common sense, and to silence their 
questionings. This would be to erect a fetish, not to choose 
a guide, and the Kindergarten, thus shorn of healthful in- 
dividuality and vigour, could never become rooted in English 

Passing on from infants and little children to the physical 
education of girls, let us consider the wants in this respect of 
the little girl of seven years of age entering upon school life. 
She is still on a par with boys Qf her own age in activity and 
muscular strengtli. So far their lines of growth have been 
parallel, and in general conformation, keen relish for exercise, 
powers of endurance, and muscular development, they are 
aUke. The boy is perhaps on an average a trifle stronger than 
the girl, his bones a little heavier, but so slightly marked and 
so inconstant are these differences that anatomists cannot dis- 
tinguish between the skeleton of a boy and a girl at this age — 
they speak only of the characteristics of the child — and it is 
during the second period of childhood (from seven to fourteen), 
and the period of youth which succeeds to it, that secondary 
differences of bodily conformation distinctive of sex super- 

The child of seven, if it has been allowed a reasonable 

40 Physical Education af Girls. 

amount of freedom, has, whether it has passed through the 
Kindergarten or not, been so constantly on the move, has had 
so much play involving brisk exercise of all its muscles, that 
it generally thrives and grows strong in spite of many 
hindrances to the healthful unfolding and strengthening of its 
faculties founded on misconception and ignorance, or inherent 
in the conditions of life of its parents. It has probably not 
yet ceased to use the left hand almost indifferently with the 
right, notwithstanding oft repeated reprimands on the awkward- 
ness of so doing. If it has already been confined in a close 
schoolroom, and made to sit still on an uncomfortable seat or 
at^a desk for several hours a day, the chances are that it 
throws its flexible body into so many contortions, and indulges 
in so many antics when school hours are over, that no perma- 
■ nent injury has resulted from long enforced continuance in 
one position. 

Of boys the same may be said all through their school lives 
excepting only studious, or very delicate, slightly made boys. 
The cricket matches eagerly looked forward to, practised for, 
and entered into heart and soul, the rowing on the river, swim- 
ming, wrestling, leaping, and the thousand forms of so-called 
mischief in which boys indulge when let out of school, coun- 
terbalance the irksome restraints and the positive injuries of 
their rough-and-ready school life, in this country at least ; and, 
therefore, in spite of having often little thought bestowed on 
their school arrangements from the health point of view, they 
have a chance of growing up strong, vigorous, straight, and 
capable of physical endurance and exertion. 

With girls it is different From the time of their regular 
entrance into the schoolroom, they are expected to lay aside 
all vigorous play, and to be a hoyden or a tomboy is often 
thought to be the very acme of impropriety in a young school- 
girl. Intellectual training in the better class of schools, dull 
learning by rote in the inferior ones, takes henceforth the first 

Physical Educatiofi cf Girls, '41 

place in a giil's education, and seldom indeed do we find the 
physical needs of a growing and delicate organization come in 
- for anything approaching adequate attention either in school 
or home education. And yet with children generally, and 
with girls especially, the training of the physical powers should 
take precedence over the training of the intellectual powers, 
the latter being incapable of unfolding harmoniously in a 
stunted or deformed body, however brilliant may be the tem- 
porary or one-sided intellectual development of some over- 
stimulated or sickly children. 

Let us study first the natural differences between girls and 
boys in the middle of schopl life. The difference in strength 
and solidity of bony structure shadowed forth in early child- 
hood has become accentuated. The spinal column, with its 
many beautiful arrangements for supporting the weight of the 
body, and allowing of easy and vigorous movements,* being 
largely composed of bone, is weaker in girls, and its adjust- 
ments, therefore, are thrown more easily out of order. The 
natural curves of the spine, which develop during child* 
hood, have a tendency to become exaggerated in girls, and 
persistent stooping and slight lateral deviations are among the 
commonest departures from the healthy standard met with in 
girlhood. The chest is less capacious. The pelvis, or irregular 

* In children the spine or vertebral column is composed of thirty-three 
separate bones called vertebrse, jointed together, and placed regularly one 
above another, similar part to similar part, so as to form the skeleton 
column. Interposed between the bodies, or thick parts of each pair of 
vertebrae, is a plate formed of a thickly felted material called fibro-carti- 
lage, elastic and tough like indiarubber. Each body has a ring attached 
to it behind, which is part of a long bony case, the spinal canal, in 
which the delicate spinal cord is lodged, and carefully protected from jar 
or pressure under ordinary circumstances. Projecting from this ring are 
several little levers of bones called processes, which afford points of attach- 
ment for the muscles, and enable them to give motion of the most com- 
plex nature to all the parts composing the flexible whole. 

42 Physical Education of Girls. 

bony girdle attached above to the lower part of the spine, 
below to the lower extremity, is larger in giris than in boys, 
and the muscular system generally is less well developed. 

From the differences which have thus sprung up between 
girls and boys may be deduced the special indications for 
physical education of a girl's growing frame. 

1. The spine is wealcer ; therefore it should be less heavily 

2. The chest is less capacious ; therefore it ought at least to 
have no hindrances placed in the way of its expansion, but 
have perfect freedom to enlarge and develop its normal shape 
and proportions. 

3. The pelvis is larger ; therefore the oigans contained in it 
are more apt to suffer displacement either from compression 
of the soft abdominal wall about the level of the waist, or as a 
consequence of severe physical strain, whether caused by 
exercise too prolonged or by exercise too severe in its 

4. The muscular system is less well developed ; therefore it 
requires to have the special attention of parents and educators 
directed towards it, for the purpose oi strengthening it and 
making it fit to sustain the functions of mature life. 

Apart from such general duties towards children of both 
sexes as a regular supply of suitable food, which is as neces- 
sary, but not more so, to girls as to boys, and the recognition 
of the important principle that intellectual training ought, 
during the years of ordinary school life, that is, up to the age 
of adolescence, to be subordinated both for boys and for girls 
to physical and moral training, let us consider one by one the 
principal things which, from our point of view, require to be 
modified or reformed in the education of girls. 

Physical Education of Girls, 43 

I. Dress. 

Girls' dress cries imperiously for reform. In our country 
fiannel underclothing is a hygienic necessity ; it is the best 
means we possess of guarding against the extremes of tem- 
perature to which our shifting climate exposes us. As a rule, 
boys, after they have passed through the perilous age of bare 
necks and short petticoats, which sees so many of them sink 
into the grave, victims of their mothers* ignorance or folly, 
are clothed from head to foot in flannel or in woollen cloth, 
unless they have the misfortune to be bom to such pinching 
poverty that anything more than decent covering for the body 
is looked upon as superfluous. Girls, as a rule, in all classes 
of society, have only the merest pretence of flannel under- 
clothing, which serves merely to exaggerate the difference of 
temperature between the exposed and the covered portions of 
the body. The trunk is indeed generally clothed in merino 
or flannel, but for the upper half of the chest no underclothing 
is provided, and half or the whole of the lower extremities 
are cased in cotton undergarments. The texture of the upper 
garments is often flimsy, and unsuitable to a climate in which 
summer clothing is never required for more than a few weeks 
at a time. And even the insufficient warm clothing which 
the girl usually wears is lessened on festive occasions, when it 
is thought quite right to lower a girl's flannel by two or three 
inches, to allow of her exposing her neck and chest more 
completely at an evening party in the depth of winter. AU 
this is wrong, is a positive sin against nature and against com- 
mon sense. 

If we want to rear healthy girls, we must protect them 
against the inclemency of the climate by clothing them in 
flannel, not by making believe to do so. We must teach them 
those personal duties to themselves and social duties to others 
which they and we violate, by recklessly exposing their bodies 

44 Physical Education of Girls. 

to the inroads of disease just as much as if they were made 
to swallow some poisonous draught Girls should be taught 
from a very early age that wilfully or carelessly to sow the 
seeds of illness or weakness in themselves is to sin against 
their body and to nullify the promise of usefulness to others 
in which all young creatures should delight That would be 
truer education than to teach them the names and dates of all 
our bloody battles, or the eicact order of succession of our 
English kings. I do not wish to undervalue the teachings of 
history, and I should be sorry indeed to see girls grow up 
ignorant of the principal events which have succeeded each 
other in their own and in other countries ; but if one kind of 
learning must needs be sacrificed to the other, let it not be 
the one which is indispensable to the raising up of a healthy 
generation of women. 

Another important, commonly overlooked, point in girls' 
dress is that it should be light a^id suitably adjusted. A 
heavy material does not necessarily imply more warmth than 
one of different make weighing much less. Fine soft serge 
may be as warm as a coarse heavy one, and merino or cash- 
mere is as warm as velveteen ; but the difference in actual 
weight to be borne is considerable. If to difference of ma^ 
terial are added differences in length and cut in a dress, and 
the presence or absence of heavy flouncing or kilting, giving 
no uniform warmth to the body, but constituting a drag on 
the spine of the most pernicious and wearisome description, 
it needs no anatomist, one would think, to pronounce that the 
choice and adjustment of a girl's clothing so as to minimize 
drag and to prevent pressure from being exercised on internal 
organs or on important masses of muscle, instead of being 
borne by the bony framework of the body, is a necessary 
subject of anxious thought to mothers and educators, and that 
dress may undoubtedly be made one valuable means of physi- 
cal education. 

Physical Education of Girls. 45 

At the present day it is generally admitted that the spine of 
girls is weaker than that of boys, and yet they alone of the two 
have been singled out to wear numerous heavy skirts, some^ 
times so tight that walking is an unsightly and painful exercise, 
sometimes, just as blind fashion may dictate, inordinately wide 
and maintained by hoops at such a distance from the body that 
currents of cold air circulate with ease between them and the 
body they cover. It is known that a girl's chest is less capa- 
cious than that of a boy, and yet it is the girls who are put into 
stays and compressed round the waist by bands and strings 
almost always too tight for comfortable breathing, and which 
should not by rights be there at all to impede the circulation 
and alter the shape of the viscera they overlie. We recognize 
that the muscular system is less well developed in girls than in 
boys, and yet, as if we wanted to make their muscles waste, 
girls' clothing is so ill arranged that they cannot even walk 
without discomfort, and are effectually prevented from deriving 
much pleasure from exercises of a more vigorous kind, such 
as rowing and skating,* for which nature has in no way dis- 
qualified them, and which, when learnt in early girlhood, are 
so conducive to robust health and innocent enjoyment 

Girls ought to be first clothed according to correct prin- 
ciples; and, secondly, they ought to be taught those principles. 
They should know, for instance, why it is wrong for them to 
have twenty to thirty yards of material put into one dress, even 
though the money to pay for it may be quite a secondary consi- 
deration ; why their undergarments should be light and warm 
enough to enable them to dispense with multitudinous skirts ; 
why no tight strings or bands should fasten round the waist, 
compressing the lower ribs and important abdominal organs ; 

* Great care is necessary in teaching grown-up women to skate, or even 
to row, as the consequences of skating tumbles or of over-exertion in 
rowing may be serious to them ; and no violent exercise ought ever to be 
rakcn when the pelvic organs are in a state of congestion. 

4.5 Physical Education of Girls. 

why they should wear no stays, and allow the chest to e3q)and 
and grow in its natural form, that is to say, to widen and not ta 
become narrower at its lower part It is not quite enough to 
say, as a good New England mother once said to her little 
girl, a friend of mine, when teazed by her to be allowed to 
wear stays : " Lizzie, if God had made little girls to want the 
support of stays. He would have put steel casings round them. 
You can wear stays, if you like, when you are grown up and 
your own mistress, but as long as you are my little girl, you 
wear no stays." Girls must be shown what mischief results 
from compressing the lower part of the chest, and altering its 
natural shape out of all symmetry and beauty, the impeded 
growth and displacement of internal parts, the weakening of 
the muscles of the back, condemned by the use of stays to 
inactivity, the interference with the orderly course of the 
circulation of the blood, the general impairment of nutrition 
and the dwarfing of the physical life, and, through it, of the 
whole life of the heedless or ill-advised young creature, who 
seeks to attain through physical deformity to a false ideal of 
womanly beauty. The Venus de* Medici, of medium stature 
and perfect proportions, is twenty-seven inches round the waist 
How many young women who have grown up in stays, 
whether they be of medium height or tall, ever attain such 
healthy development of chest and muscle as a girth of twenty- 
seven inches at the waist implies i 

Again, as to boots. It is not enough for a wise mother to 
say to a girl : " You are not to wear high-heeled boots, be- 
cause they are bad for you." That may do for the period 
of childhood and early girlhood; but once released from 
authority, of course the girl will follow the prevalent fashion 
of the day, unless she has been convinced that it is fraught 
with danger. She must have learnt, if she is by her own free 
^vill to eschew high and slanting heeled boots, that they will 
ilestroy the natural form of the bones of her foot, and give 

Physical Education of Girls. 47 

her in a less degree the deformity of a Chinese lad/s foot; 
that they predispose to painful joint affections, cause per- 
manent contraction of certain muscles of the leg during 
walking and standing, throw the weight of the body forward, 
and cause even curvature of the spine to be developed, in 
order to restore the disturbance of equilibrium caused by 
withdrawing the heel of the foot from its natural function of 
helping materially to support the weight of the body. Similarly, 
a disturbance of equilibrium occurs, followed by its own train of 
evils, when tight or narrow-soled and ill-cut boots, which destroy 
the natural arch of the foot, or twist and cramp it, are worn. 
That boots should be of a quality and texture to keep the feet 
dry and warm is almost too obvious to need insisting on, were 
it not that many women choose boots for themselves and 
their young daughters as if boots existed to make their feet 
look pretty, and nothing more. The whole question of boots 
is interesting, and by wearing them at all we lose much valuable 
service which the foot might render as a tactile and prehensile 
organ. The foot is undoubtedly capable of bearing a good 
deal of exposure, and in more temperate climates than our 
own something might be gained, and much enjoyment afforded, 
by dispensing with any covering for the foot; but where 
covering is worn, it should be sufficiently thick and strong to 
protect the foot from ordinary injuries, and to preserve it from 
imdue extremes of temperature, as well as so fashioned as to 
allow of a good deal of movement in various directions. 

The above brief remarks have, I hope, sufficed to make it 
evident to all that girls have been grievously sinned against by 
their educators in the matter of dress, and that it is impossible 
to carry out any large measure of reform in their physical 
education without first introducing a little more common sense 
into the dressing of girls, and casting aside those trammels 
to free and healthy development of the body which fashion 
and the folly of mothers have devised. 

48 Physical Education of Girls. 

II. Exercise. 

Having cleared the wa)^by first reviewing the question of 
dress, for what may be called the more positive part of our 
subject, let us now consider exercise, and see whether the 
rights of girl children to a free development of their faculties 
are not here also violated. 

Little girls of the working classes are exercised often severely 
enough. They are less likely to be dragged down by the weight 
of their skirts ; the danger is rather that their garments are both 
too few for warmth and of unsuitable materials. They are less 
often cramped by stiff stays than girls of the richer classes, 
but when they are put into stays, the consequences are in 
some respects even more disastrous, as the common kinds of 
stays, which may be bought for a couple of shillings, are 
worse cut than the more expensive ones ; and it is no uncom- 
mon thing for such pressure to be exercised by their stays on 
the growing breasts of young working girls as to make them 
incapable as mothers of ever giving their children suck. 

Little girls of the working classes, if they are not dragged 
down by heavy skirts, are very commonly weighed down by 
heavy babies. The practice of making an older child act as 
nurse to her little brothers and sisters, and carry on her arm 
(almost invariably the left one) heavy babies, which a girl of 
the same age in well-to-do families would hardly be allowed to 
lift from the ground, and of sending out very young or slight, 
delicate girls into service as nursemaids, as the lightest and 
most suitable work for them, is the most frequent cause of 
spinal curvature and its long train of evils in the children of 
the poor. Boys, when they are made to nurse the baby, and 
this they have to do as a rule only when there are no sisters 
old enough to do it — the work is never evenly divided among 
the boys and girls of a family — are both a little stronger to 

Physical Education of Girls. 49 

bear the burden and less conscientious about their little 
charges than girls are. They run away and cannot be made 
to give up their lives to the service of the baby as girls often 
do, a girl sometimes nursing through a large family of brothers 
and sisters — at least this was so before the days of School- 
boards — ^now there is less (;hance of it — and it is one of the 
most useful services which Schoolboards are rendering to the 
community, that they are delivering little girls from the 
thraldom of the baby, and removing one of the most prolific 
causes of crooked backs in girls. It may be that they are 
substituting others, but of this more anon. 

It has long been known that, if you overload a young horse 
or other beast of burden, its back bends, and its future 
serviceableness is impaired ; and yet I have known honest, 
hardworking English mothers who hardly ever took up their 
babies except to suckle them, and left the entire nursing of 
them to the eldest little girl of the family, to her physical 
injury and to the neglect of her schooling. It used to be no 
rare thing to find the eldest girl in fairly prosperous working 
men's families unable to read or write like the rest, because she 
had only had two or three quarters' schooling, having been 
kept at home to mind the successive babies, of which there 
was always one from the time she could walk alone until 
she was sent out into service to earn her own living. Truly 
it may be said that " Evil is wrought by want of thought, as well 
as by want of heart," when we reflect that nothing short of 
compulsory education has sufficed to lift from the shoulders 
of little girls so heavy a burden ; and when we remember 
that it was their mothers who placed it there, what more con- 
vincing proof need we ask of the advisability, nay the absolute 
necessity, of imparting to women the largest possible measure 
of usefiil knowledge, seeing that they contribute so materially 
by wise household government, or the contrary, to make or to 
mar the health and usefulness pt-diel^ng^^enj^ration, apart 

50 Physical Education of Girls. 

altogethet from their own inalienable right to a share in the 
intellectual banquet of life ? 

If there happens to be no baby in the family, little girls of 
the working class are still expected to help actively in house- 
hold work, at times when boys are generally sent out to amuse 
themselves, in order, as the mothers often express it, " to get 
them out of the way." Some kinds of household activity, sucli 
33 cleaning rooms and boots, washing up, running errands, 
&C., afford capital exercise to both boys and girls, but it 
frequently happens that most of the fetching of water and 
coals is left to the girl, while the stronger boy is playing in 
the streets. Again, the girl, when she comes home from 
school, is often set down to needlework, a useful and neces- 
sary occupation, I grant, but one which is monotonous in the 
extreme, wearisome to active little brains, almost always 
pursued in a stooping posture, and Which, as a physical 
exercise, to use the words of an excellent and judicious teacher 
of girls,* " may almost be pronoimced bad in its very nature." 
It calls into action a limited number of muscles of the hand 
and arm only (and it may be remarked that those muscles which 
are active in sewing get plenty of exercise during school 
hours), while it hardly calls forth any activity in the muscles of 
the thumb, which good physical education ought to develop 
to the utmost, the thumb being that part of the hand which 
is most essentially human in its characteristics. Knitting, 
especially in the German way, is far superior to sewing as a 
manual exercise; and there is much to be said in support of 
the proposal made by a lady member of one of our provincial 
Schoolboards, that boys should be taught to knit, as well as 
girls, as a good and useful manual exercise. 

little girls of the middle and upper classes, whose parents 
do not look to their labour as a right which is to take pre- 
cedence of education, exercise, and play, are often, strange to 
♦ Anna C Brackelt, " Education of American Girlf," 1874. 

Physical Education of Girls, 5 1 

say, at a greater disadvantage than even their poorer sisters, 
when compared with their brothers, in regard to the means 
afforded to them of physical education and development 
They are, as already stated, most unsuitably dressed. Their 
education is either neglected, on the plea of their brothers* 
greater needs, if the family purse is small, and they are not 
allowed, for fear of becoming unfeminine, to make up for the 
want of good teaching by living in the open air and growing 
strong of limb, active, observant, enduring, and fearless, or 
they are immured in school-rooms for many hours of the day, 
tormented with accomplishments (which they seldom accom- 
plish), and, on pretence of pushing them forward intellectually, 
and making them the equals of their brothers, they are taught 
the same lessons without being given the same correctives of 
over-activity of brain, which their brothers enjoy when they 
rush out of school wild with exuberance of spirits and eager 
for fun. 

The danger of intellectual forcing of girls is great in our own 
day, awaking as we are to the educational wants of women* 
High-schools are growing up in all our large towns for middle- 
class girls, and girls of the working classes are being slowly 
but surely gathered into Board schools. There is not much 
danger that girls' minds will be too well stored, although it is 
a startling fact that conscientiousness in doing their lessons 
well is apt to develop uncomfortably early in little girls as 
compared with little boys. We need not fear that women 
will become too learned, but we have reason to fear that their 
intellectual training will be pushed too far at an early age, to 
the detriment of their physical, and especially of their mus- 
cular, development 

Teachers are not all to blame for this. There is in them a 
natural leaning to exaggerate the importance of the subjects 
they individually teach, which, however, makes them all the 
better teachers if it is counterbalanced by similar feeling in 

E 2 

52 Physical Education of Girls. 

all the other teachers in the school, and greater breadth of 
view in the head-mistress. Too much is demanded of teachers 
and schoolmistresses by parents and guardians. A girl is 
expected to have made too great and sustained intellectual 
eflforts by the time she leaves school, and school life is regarded 
far too much as a time for laying in a stock of intellectual 
provision for the whole of life. With this feeling abroad, 
teachers have not fair play. They are driven on by compe- 
tition to force their pupils' brains ; and if they attempt to in- 
troduce reforms — to give, for instance, more time and;attention 
to g3rmnastic exercises for girls — the parents are very apt to tell 
them that they pay their money for education i and not for 
gymnastics. Quite recently I was amazed to hear fall from 
the lips of one of the most competent members of the School- 
board for London the remark, that it wj^s wrong to take away 
more of the time left to the girls from needlework for physical 
exercise, because the ratepayers' money was paid after all for 
intellectual training, and because the girls were made to work 
at home by their mothers out of school hours, and were sure to 
get plenty of physical exercise in that way. 

I hope I have made it clear to all here present that the 
exercise which the girls do get at home in working families is 
not sufficient for their health, at any rate in large towns. 
Should any still doubt it, a visit to any of our Board schools 
will convince them that the early grace of childhood has in 
too many of the girls given place to stooping shoulders, want 
of accuracy and precision in movement, and awkward, slovenly 
gait, which may be taken as so many indications that at least 
that most important branch of physical education, the training 
of the muscular system, has been insufficient or neglected. 

At least a third of a school-girl's life ought to be spent in 
sleep. Many girls require even more than eight hours' sleep, and 
it is poor economy of time to stint them of it when this is so. 
Of the fifteen or sixteen working hours of the day, not more 

Physical Education of Girls. 53 

than one-third should be spent in preparing lessons and in 
class work throughout childhood, and little girls of from seven 
to ten or eleven years of age ought to have even shorter hours 
of work. The remaining hours of the day ought to be devoted 
to taking food and to training the body. The latter, in the 
natural healthful conditions of country life, would consist of 
long walks, to which it is easy to bring even young children 
by regular practice, rambles in search of natural history 
specimens, climbing hills or mountains, swimming, rowing, 
skating, riding, ISiwn tennis, and one or two other really useful 
modem games, according to the time of year, while for wet , 
days there would be dancing in-doors, battledore and shuttle- 
cock, the old-fashioned games of fives and of cup and ball, 
which make the hand so nimble and so obedient to the will, 
and, for all weathers and seasons, looking after and playing 
with the animals, which go so far to make up the pleasure 
and usefulness of a country life to children of both sexes. 
Several hours a day spent in active and varied exercise in 
country air, with a little sensible supervision and steady dis- 
countenancing by the mother of all listlessness and moping, 
would make every girl strong, supple, surefooted, able to walk 
and to run, quick and steady of hand and of eye, clear, 
headed, large-brained, ready, after passing safely through the 
critical period which leads from childhood to adolescence, to 
throw herself vigorously into intellectural work, and capable 
of learning in a year, at sixteen or seventeen years of age, as 
much as has been compressed into the whole school life of a 
young girl of average education. There are few kinds of 
knowledge which cannot be better taken in by the rapidly 
unfolding brain of the girl entering in upon young womanhood 
than by the brain of the child ; and happily even languages, 
which are so easily acquired by children, need involve no 
strain of the immature intellectual faculties, as it is merely the 
imitative part which it is essential to teach in early childhood. 

54 Physical Education of Girls. 

Thus far I have said nothing about systems of gymnastics 
or direct methods of physical training for girls, holding it, as 
I do, to be better and more natural to let them develop in as 
much freedom from artificial restraints as possible, and being 
fully persuaded that the various activities of healthy, happy, 
and cultured country life are in themselves sufficient to train 
the senses, and to train the muscular system and bring it into 
subjection to the will, to do which is the essential object of all 
physical education. If, however, from motives of convenience 
or necessity, children are brought up in towns, artificial methods 
of physical training must needs be resorted to, in order to 
supply the place of natural ones ; and it becomes a subject of 
national importance to study the best gymnastic methods and 
appliances, to understand clearly the reasons for them, and why 
it is undesirable to put boys and girls through exactly the same 
course of gymnastics. 

The training of the senses requires no special adaptation 
for boys or for girls, the element of sex not entering in here 
at all. To teach the eye to see properly surrounding objects, 
the ear to hear and discriminate sounds discordant or har* 
monious, and gradually to educate it up to a perception of the 
beauties first of simple melody and later on of more compli- 
cated musical combinations; to teach the palate to choose 
and to enjoy harmless, in preference to harmful, food and 
drink ; to train, in short, all the senses to be keen and quick 
in action, and faithful ministers interposed between the soul 
and the outer world, is the office of the educator of the youth 
of both sexes, and need not now occupy us, who have met to 
consider physical education in its special bearing on girls. 

Where children grow up in the freedom of country life, it it 
needless to prescribe minutely how far a boy may run or how 
high he may climb in excess of a girl, and it is never necessary 
to tell a big girl that she must not play at cricket with the 
youths of the neighbourhood. Girls feel no pleasure in taking 

Physical Education of Girls, 55 

more physical exercise than their frame is fitted for, any more 
than a healthy palate prompts to gluttony or excess. There 
are natural adjustments and instincts of propriety which 
may safely be trusted more than they are to choose what 
is really befitting to girls and boys. But if children are 
taken out of their natural medium, country life, and bred in 
cities, with artificial gymnastics to develop and strengthen 
their muscles, instead of the manifold activities of country 
life, then it becomes necessary to study carefully and to follow 
faithfiilly the differences which sex has implanted in boys and 
girls, . and it behoves us to beware that we respect in our 
systems of physical education the laws of development of 
either sex. 

We have then to consider that, from their general confor- 
mation and the special maternal functions for which nature is 
slowly and silently fashioning them, gymnastic exercises for 
girls must be less violent, perhaps more frequent, but certainly 
less prolonged, than those designed for boys. In later girl- 
hood girls may even require occasional short intermittences 
on account of temporary weakness or trifling indispositions, 
whence it is obvious that it is most consistent with delicacy 
and propriety that the gymnastic exercises of girls should be 
performed under the direction of thoroughly qualified and 
efficient women teachers, who can best estimate the varying 
physical capacity of the developing girl, and who can, a6 a 
matter of course, question her pupils on health subjects which 
cannot with any propriety be discussed by a man with young girls. 
Again, into the question of gymnastics for girls the consideration 
of the relatively large size of their pelvis, the position of the 
organs contained in it, and their liability to congestion, dis- 
placement and strain in consequence of ill-directed gymnastic 
exercise, or still more pernicious rivalry between girls of un- 
equal physical power, enters largely. In short, the gymnastic 
training of girls involves so many questions of detail and of 

56 Physical Education of Girls. 

compromise between the general and the particular that I fail 
to see how any one but a woman, qualified for the work by 
nature and by the best ani most thorough training, can carry 
it out satisfactorily. A woman also can far more efficiently 
than a man train young women teachers, appreciating, as she 
only can do, the weariness and actual hard work that it is to 
them, with their consolidated frames and disobedient muscles, 
to master exercises which are mere child's play to supple 
young girls. 

So far Ling's exercises, the so-called Swedish gymnastics, 
have been found most suitable for girls ; but I confess I look 
forward to a time when some woman of genius shall, with all 
the learning of the schools at her command, joined to her 
own special feminine instinct, have given us something even 
better and more completely adapted to the requirements of 
girls than Ling's system of gymnastics. 

In ell systems of gymnastics — ^and perhaps this is more 
necessary for girls than for boys, as women's lives are spent 
more at home, and manual dexterity is of even more moment 
to them than to men, on account of the variety of work for 
^vhich handiness is demanded in a household, although, alas ! 
it is often demanded in vain — ^training of the hand ought to 
hold a prominent place. 

The left hand especially requires to be reinstated in its 
natural position of equal co-operation with the right from 
which centuries of misdirected educational efforts have driven 
it. Instead of striving to prevent a child from making use of 
its left hand, and forcing it to use almost exclusively the right, 
our endeavour should be to make it equally expert with both 
hands, not alone for the sake of the increased capacity for all 
kinds of manual work thus gained, but also as a means of 
indirectly developing the right or corresponding half of the 
brain, on which muscular activity reacts as a powerful stimulus. 
Education has taken a direction so entirely false in regard to 

Physical Educatioft of Girls. 57 

the left hand that it has created a wholly artificial necessity 
for special left-hand gymnastics, to counteract not only actual 
wrong teaching but inherited wrong tendencies ; for the very 
slight preference whidi perhaps a small majority of infants 
give to the right hand over the left would never, without the 
injudicious fostering of parents, have resulted in that maiming 
of the race which righthandedness implies. That the dis- 
ability is an artificial and not a natural one is proved by the 
fact that energetic individuals once as righthanded as their 
fellows do sometimes teach themselves to become ambidexter 
when circumstances make it desirable or necessary ; and that 
they should be able to do so is the less to be wondered at 
when we reflect there has been in our own day such a prodigy 
as an artist of considerable merit, bom without hands, who 
painted his pictures with his feet, which long use had rendered 
as deft as other people's hands. 

In estimating the advantages girls would derive from a 
rational system of physical education, it is often overlooked 
that, apart from the general advantage to all human beings 
of well-developed muscles, and the importance of muscular 
exercise as a promoter of the venous circulation, together with 
i^s strengthening and steadying influence on the nervous 
system, muscular exercise retards the advent of puberty by 
directing an abundant supply of blood to thfc active muscles, 
whereas muscular inactivity favours congestion of internal 
organs, precocious sexual development, with all its long train 
of physical and moral evils, and that hydra-headed parent of 
female ailments in civilized communities, instability of the 
nervous system, or disturbed equilibrium of the motor and 
sensory divisions. 

The special duties of women make large calls on muscular 
strength; and if in childhood the opportunity afforded of 
developing it is missed, how can these claims be met ? Is it 
not pitiable to see yearly thousands of mothers break down 

58 Physical Education of Girls. 

under the burden of maternity borne for the first or second 
time, while it is no exaggeration to say that not twenty per 
cent of English mothers belonging to the upper classes oi 
society are physically capable of carrying about in their arms 
their own babies, but must perforce make them over to the 
care of strangers ? Is it too much to say of women that they 
" need strong arms that can cradle a healthy child and hold it 
crowing in the air, backs that will not break under the burden 
of household cares, a frame that is not exhausted and weakened 
by the round of daily duties ? " • 

When I look round among the women whose family history 
is known to me, and with whose maternal experiences profes- 
sional acquaintanceship has made me familiar, I find that all 
those who have safely and easily passed through the crises of 
motherhood without impairment of general health are muscu- 
larly well developed ; most of them led as children a free out- 
door country life ; and a large proportion were their brothers' 
playmates and comrades in girlhood in all their active sports. 
This entirely coincides with medical experience generally, for 
the almost incredible expenditure of muscular force which 
women have to sustain in a single day during the exercise of 
their most laborious maternal function, cannot fail to overdraw, 
if it does not exhaust, the strength and powers of endurance 
of those women who, as one of our well-known obstetricians 
has aptly put it, " have never done a hard da/s work in their 
lives before." 

I am content to rest my claim for the physical education of 
girls on their universally recognized right to become in fulness 
of time wives and mothers ; for if it be once admitted that it is 
due to girls to spare no pains to make them strong for the 
performance of their special womanly duties, we need ask for no 
more. Girls of the physical calibre which will make them the 
btrong mothers of a strong race are sure to have such a foun- 

* Dr. Elizabeth Blackwdl, " Lectures on the Laws of life," 1871. 

Physical Education of Girls. 59 

dation of health and strength, such firmness of muscle, such 
well-strung nerves, such well-developed brains (for it must not 
be forgotten that the size and quality of the brain is largely 
influenced by the muscular development of the body), that 
they will be able to accomplish without strain a very large 
amount of intellectual work ; able, in fact, to do any kind of 
intellectual work which they deliberately elect to do. And we 
shall be no more assailed with pitiful tales of girls crushed 
under the weight of competitive examinations, of over-active 
brains in feeble bodies, giving way for years or for life. We 
shall hear no more, in short, of those disgraceful breakdowns 
of health on the threshold of adult life which bring such 
discredit on the movement for the higher education of women, 
although they are by no means confined to the female sex.* 
For a girl to break down under pressure of intellectual work is, 
I contend, a disgrace to those who have been entrusted with 
her early training, no less than a discredit to herself, and a 
dishonour to the woman's cause ; and it is high time to raise 
our voices in strong protest against such waste of precious 
young human life, such violation of physiological laws, and 
such criminal ignorance of the conditions and requirements of 
healthy development in women. 

• In the first mixed class of anatomy at the College of Surgeons, 
Edinburgh, in 1870, keen competition for the prize took place between the 
male and female students, and the teachers still speak with wonder of the 
great amount of earnest work accomplished by all during the session. The 
ladies gave the best average ; a lady came in for the second place, and three 
out of the seven took honours ; but a gentleman took the first prize. He, 
however, went up immediately afterwards for an examination in anatomy 
before the Collie of Surgeons of England and failed ignominiously. 
So utterly had he broken down ph3rsically and mentally that, as he himself 
expressed it, hb brain whirled, and he was unable to name correctly even 
the two bones of the forearm ; and it was many months before he recovered. 
Yet the ladies were all mentally and physically stronger at the end than 
they were at the beginning of the session* 


By anna BUCKLANa 

There seems to be a widespread feeling that the present 
generation, with all its rich stores inherited from the past, 
and all its own gains in the present, has yet failed in the 
attainment of happiness. Due allowance must, of course, be 
inade, for the tendency of some imaginations at all times to 
dwell on the dark side of things 3 and we must also reckon 
for the existence in every age of " melancholy philosophers," 
who " love to sit down and rail against the world ; " but 
beyond the vein of sadness, which has its place in every 
age, there is at the present time a too general expression 
of disappointment with life and its results for us to doubt 
that a sense of unhappihess is common; and the cry for 
light and good has an intensity which carries the convic- 
tion that it is also real. Yet the world has not grown old, 
nor have the conditions of human existence greatly changed. 
All the sources of human happiness — God, Love, Duty, 
Nature, are as full and deep as ever, as fresh and pure 
and unexhausted. 

" For while a youth is lost in soaring thought, 
And while a maid grows sweet and beautiful, 
And while a springtide coming lights the earth, 
And while a child, and while a flower is bom. 
And while one wrong cries for redress and finds ^ 

A soul to answer, Still the World is young." * 

The unhappiness of the present generation does not lie 

Tlie Happiness of Childhood. Oi 

in the decay of those sources from which happiness is 
derived ; but in the want of accord between the race of to- 
day, and the world above and around them. They turn 
from the springs of joy, because these no longer refresh and 
satisfy them. They have lost the power of receiving and 
assimilating what, once gave happiness to Hfe, and made it 
beautiful and precious. It is sometimes suggested that the 
human race has made in the present century such progress 
that it has outgrown the power of enjojrment ; the aims 
of the present generation are so high that life cannot satisfy 
them ; their knowledge of human nature is so enlarged, 
their sympathies so quickened, that happiness is no longer 
possiWe, except as a selfish dream. 

Yet the greatest men the world has ever seen, the men 
of highest aims, . of largest knowledge of human nature, 
and of keenest, tenderest sympathy, have shown a simple 
gladness of heart, and a power of entering into all the 
life of the world, and of receiving happiness from all its 
various sources. And this must be so, for the greater is 
the nature of the man, the larger is his sphere of life ; his 
oudook is wider, and he fearlessly includes all things within 
it; it is by his very many-sidedness that he is capable of 
receiving a larger measure of happiness from a greater variety 
of sources. It is not greatness, but narrowness, which is the 
cause of unhappiness; and it is not the "progress" or 
** growth " of the present generation, which is the occasion 
of its vein of sadness. Growth is not the hasty running up 
in a single line ; and progress is not advance only in one 
direction. The growth of the individual is the equal and 
constantly increasing development of every faculty ; arid the 
progress of the race is when " the whole world grows like 
the few." We do not need to lower our aims, nor to become 
ignorant and callous in order to be happy; but we need 
rather to aim at nothing short of perfecting the ideal of 

62 The Happiness of Childhood. 

humanity; and to strive to keep in active exercise every 
(acuity of soul, and mind, and heart We can only out- 
grow happiness when one part of our complex nature out- 
grows another. In a true, complete growth, happiness 
rises ever before us, extending onwards into a divine ful- 
ness, and into the long vista of immortality. 

Happiness begins with life; the little gentle murmurs of 
contentment are contemporary with the tears and cries ; 
and very soon the sunny smiles and joyful laugh of child- 
hood far out-number the signals of distress. It now rests 
with those who have the care and training of the little 
one in their hands to provide for him the means of happi- 
ness, and to guard and cultivate those faculties by 
which he is able to derive pleasure from all its pure and 
unexhausted sources. 

But here come in two or three ideas, which prevent 
parents and teachers from making the happiness of children 
a direct aim of their guardianship and training. First, 
there is the old superstitious fear of happiness ; the dread 
that the hearty enjoyment of the blessings of life will pro- 
voke the displeasure of some mysterious power which can 
be thus moved to deprive us of them. Then there is a 
feeling, that if children are made too happy in this world, 
they will learn to rest satisfied with it, and have no aspira- 
tions beyond an earthly life. Again, the notion has become 
common, that happiness is very unheroic, incompatible with 
depth of earnestness and intense feeling. And lastly, there 
is a general idea that all children are naturally so full of 
happiness that we need not seek it for them in any scheme 
of education or training; what we have to do is to seek 
their ^^ goody* and they may be left to find happiness for 

It is certainly time that we got rid of the first of these 
ideas ; for if we believe, with Frobel, that each little child 

TJie Happiness of Childhood. 63 

is a thought of God, we must also believe that he was sent 
into a world prepared for him, — a world in harmony with his 
nature ; — and that, therefore, the smile of God must rest on 
the little child, who heartily and freely delights in the rich 
provision made for his happiness. 

And can we believe, that by allowing a child to be 
miserable in this world we are leading him to love God, 
its Creator, and raising any aspiration which would make 
the child desire to enter another world of nearer access to 
God? Unhappiness may cause a distaste for this life; but 
that is not an aspiration after a higher life; it is only a 
desire, for a change ; which would be sufficiently satisfied by 
other conditions of earthly life, without the same drawbacks, 
even if the state were a lower one. It is rather by a spring- 
time of happiness ' that the little child learns to love God, 
the Maker of the world in which he finds himself, and to 
believe in and desire an after world of richer blessedness, 
and of more joy fill nearness to the Father of all mercies. 

And need we fear that a happy childhood lays the founda- 
tion of an unheroic character in after life? Idleness and 
self-indulgence will do this; but not happiness. It is grief, 
which is too often selfish, and discontent and murmuring, 
which shut up sympathy. A miserable childhood, with its 
self-engrossment, is not the foundation of large-hearted, self- 
sacrificing love in later life ; nor are weariness and disappoint- 
ment in childhood a preparation for hopeful work in the ripe 
season of maturity. 

So far from our being relieved firom all responsibility in 
regard to the happiness of children — ^because they will be sure 
to make themselves happy in some way — the fact is, that at no 
period of our lives are we anything like so susceptible of 
sorrow as in childhood. More tears are shed in childhood 
than at any other time ; and this is not merely for the reason 
that little eyes fill more readily; childhood's tears are not 

64 Tlie Happiness of Childhood, 

" idle tears " because the cause of sorrow seems to us so 
trifling; they " rise in the heart," as well as "gather to the 
eyes ; " and the heart-ache is as sore as that caused by what 
we call our greater trials. There is no stage of life in which 
happiness is so dependent on things outside of ourselves as in 
childhood. In after years, when life is more in our own hands, 
we are generally, more or less, the makers of our own 
happiness ; but in helpless childhood — ^when we look to others 
for everything, when every delicate fibre of the being clings to 
something outside of itself, when all the circumstances and 
direction of life, the work, the play, the health, all the soothing 
and cheering influences, are in the hands of others — ^it is 
clear that the risk to happiness is very great 

There is then every reason why we should fearlessly and 
earnestly make the happiness of children a part of our purpose 
and aim in all our plans for them of education, training, or 
general life. 

A few suggestions may be useful in regard to some of the 
conditions on which the happiness of childhood depends ; 
and these we may divide under two heads — those which must 
enter into schemes of education and training; and those 
which belong to the personal influence of individuals. 

The first essentials of any plan of education which shall result 
in the happiness of the child are, that the system should include 
means for the equal development and growth of every faculty 
df the child ; and that these should be planned in strict ac- 
cordance with the natural laws of a child's being. Every 
Kindergarten teacher knows that these two principles are the 
foundation of FrobeFs system, and that the Kindergarten 
is a complete series of exercises for every faculty of the child, 
under which each petal of the little human flower is unfolded 
in strict accordance with natural laws. That the result should 
De happiness, we need only enter a Kindergarten to prove, or 
ask a little child thus educated which are the happiest hours 

The Happiness of Childhood. 65 

rf the day. It is in fact simply " Nature's holy plan ; ^ and it 
" every flower enjoys the air it breathes," and it is with a thrill 
of pleasure that " the budding twigs spread out their fan," it 
Tiay well be our faith that the unfolding and growth of the 
::hild's more sensitive nature are attended by the most delight- 
ful consciousness of happiness. But on the other hand, have 
we not also " reason to lament what man has made of man ? " 
For it is by a system of training which unduly stimulates cer- 
tain faculties, and utterly neglects others, that we have produced 
che weariness and feverish restlessness which are the misery of 
the present generation. What thousands of bright httle eyes 
have been made to weep over the constant taxes on the tired 
memory ; and what thousands of childish sighs have arisen 
over painful efforts to use the overstrained reason ; while at 
the same time thd imagination has been craving for its food, 
and the little hands and feet are restless with suppressed 
activity. Even a child becomes early conscious of a sense of 
dissatisfaction under a culture which makes no appeal to the 
soul, provides no exercise for the imagination, has nothing in 
it to touch the heart, and gives no employment or teaching to 
the busy fingers ; and as he becomes older the poverty of such 
an existence is painfully present to him. 

It is to a wider scheme of education, having for its aim 
not merely self-preservation and a high condition of physical 
well-being — but the fuller realization of the Divine ideal in 
each human being that we must look for the renewal in the 
next generation of the power of living " a life worth living," 
a fresh many-sided life of happiness and hope. 

A second condition essential to the happiness of childhood 
is Freedom. It is a common cry, that children have too much 
liberty in the present day ; and if the sacred name of liberty iv. 
used here for license to follow every desire the assertion may 
be true. But this is not freedom ; and it is a fact, that while 
license is permitted, freedom is checked and suppressed. 


66 T/u Happiness of Childhood. 

Freedom is only the living out of our true real life — the being 
what we really are ; it is the dwelling under the wide arch of 
Heaven, with space for abundant natural growth, and the 
unfettered exercise of every faculty and activity. 

We grant, that the nations of the world which enjoyed in 
their infancy the largest measiue of freedom have made the 
soundest progress, that they have become the most intelligent 
and moral, and have shown the strictest regard for law* Yet 
we often fear to let children alone to live out their true natural 
life, but make it a duty to be constantly thwarting their 
wishes and checking their impulses ; driving them by force 
in one direction, and holding them back with a strong hand from 
another, until they become miserable through despondency 
and irritability. We want more faith in nature and in God ; 
for if we believe that each little child is a thought of God, 
and that all the laws of its being are divine in their origin, we 
may well suspect that these are often more true in their 
promptings than are our plans and notions. 

The ordinary restraints placed upon the freedom of a child 
arise usually from three causes. They are often a part of an 
artificial system of education, which has settled how the child 
is to be trained and taught, without any regard to the natural 
laws of a child's development. The system has perhaps been 
handed down from the ignorance of the past, and is therefore 
continued without thought by later generations. There is a 
notion that what we had to endure ourselves we ought to 
make the next generation endure. We have turned out so 
well, we cannot do better than put our children under the 
same yoke. Or the artificial system is founded on the one 
idea that happens to be the reigning tendency of the day j 
and to the preponderating influence of this everything else 
gives way ; so that the free growth of the child is sacrificed to 
the tyranny of a single thought The^reedom of childhood is 
again often interfered with by the &ct that the parent or 

The Happiness of Childhood. 67 

teacher has formed a certain ideal, which he holds to be the 
only model type of childhood. To this one narrow pattern 
he strives to conform children of utterly contrary characters 
and natures ; so that their early years are passed in constant 
truggle or in weak despair. All the while the character and 
capabilities receive no culture. There is a good illustration of 
the tyranny of a fixed, narrow ideal over a child's life, and of 
the misery produced by it, in one of Robert Buchanan's 
" Village Idylls," where an old Scotch shepherd and his wife, 
whose sole ideal of highest manhood is a minister of the Kirk, 
strive in vain to train up a poet son in accordance with this 
ideal And how many a gifted boy and girl, full of God-given 
faculties of a particular kind, have had their childhood em- 
bittered by attempts to crush the life out of the faculties they 
had, and to force others they did not possess ! 

Personal tyranny is another great check on the freedom 
which is essential to the happiness of a child. The arbitrary 
will of the parent, or teacher, is exerted to domineer over the 
will of the child, and this is sometimes done in the belief that 
it is by this means that a child learns respect and obedience. 
The child is therefore contradicted without being allowed an 
answer ; no attention is paid to his wishes ; he is constantly 
thwarted in his intentions ; and his impulses and tastes are 
roughly repressed. Even his innocent fancies and feelings are set 
on one side, and his activities are made to bend under the will 
of another. But arbitrary rule does not, in itself, inspire respect. 
True respect is founded on admiration and confidence ; and 
these are only called forth by character and conduct. Children 
soon see through all paltry attempts to inspire respect by self- 
assertion aiid tyranny ; and they do not learn true obedience 
by being forced for a few years to bend to another will, which is 
exerted only for the sake of over-mastering theirs. "It is 
good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth," but that is the 
yoke of law^ and not of one will domineering over another. 

F 2 

68 The Happiness of Childhood. 

While freedom is essential to the happiness of childhood 
obedience to law is not less so. Children cannot be taught too 
early to pay the strictest regard to natural and moral laws ; for 
they are the principles by which we live in harmony with the 
world in which we dwell, and when this harmony is in any wajT 
disturbed, suffering and discord are the unavoidable results. This 
habit of strict regard to law is not only necessary to the happiness 
of childhood, but it is the only safeguard against disappointment 
with life and its results in later years. So little are children 
taught to live in accordance with law, that they are constantly 
expecting the good to come, when the law that produces' it is 
set aside, while they resent the evil, which is the natural result 
of a broken law. In fact, many children are taught not only 
to believe in, but to expect, miracles with much more certainty 
than they are led to see the constant, faithful working of God's 
laws, and the necessity of obedience to them. 

In leading children to live in accordance with law, the 
teaching at first need only be very simple. A little child feels 
that he is in a world he knows nothing about, and he naturally 
looks to those who have been longer in it to help him to 
•understand it. At first he has to do with so small a part of the 
world, and his relations to it are so simple, that the teaching 
will not be complicated nor over full. The Kindergarten in- 
j troduces him to one object at a time ; and as he learns by 
degrees the properties of things, and the laws which govern 
them, it is easy to show him the necessity of obedience to 
these in his own actions in regard to them. From this he passes on 
to see the wisdom of God in all these things, and the perfect har- 
mony which subsists between himself and the world around him. 

When he acquires the sense that all things around him are 

\ ruled according to wise and constant laws ordained by God, 

his Father, he will lose that blmd terror of the imknown and 

unnatural which is one of the great miseries of childhood. How 

many a little child's life has been made imhappy by the feeling 

The Happiness of Childhood. 69 

of insecurity, and the dread of the power of malignant, myste- 
rious agencies. 

A habit of obedience to law cannot be acquired, except by 
the assurance, tliat the law is constant ; and it is, therefore, 
better not to allow little children to hear of things which are ex- 
ceptions to the ordinary rule of nature. They need to have 
the sense of constancy firmly established in their minds before 
they are made acquainted with those phenomena which result 
from rare occurrences. And yet it is with these that children are 
often first made familiar. Many a child has been taught to ex- 
pect the immediate destruction of the world before he has been 
told anything of the goodness, constancy and beauty of its 
wonderful fulness of life. And many a little one has had his 
happiness broken by the daily expectation of earthquakes, fires, 
mad dogs, robberies and monsters, before he has learnt that 
these are unusual occurrences. Even those predictions of 
terrible storms and sensational weather should be kept from 
little children, for we cannot tell how these may distress them. 
A visiting teacher in a preparatory school for little boys hap- 
pened to mention last summer the prediction that we were to 
have three days of darkness. This so laid hold of the imagi- 
nation of one poor little fellow, that on going to bed at night 
he was heard saying to his companion — "Well this has been a 
miserable day." And a few years ago, when it was predicted 
that the tail of a comet would destroy the earth, one little 
child is said to have died from the terror of expecting it 

The first step of the little child will be simple obedience to 
law, and trust in its constancy ; and the result will be the 
avoidance of suffering and terror ; but as the child comes 
more and more into relation with others, and begins to look 
up in love to his Father in heaven, obedience to law becomes 
in him the sense of duty, and his whole moral nature is raised, 
as he feels love and duty to be the springs of obedience. Then 
he knows something of that deejt^ happiness which attends duty 

70 The Happiness of Childhood. 

founded in love, even when the action involves self-deniaJ ; and 
obedience to every law is now in itself a delight, as he recognizes 
God to be the author of all that divine harmony, by whidi — 
•* The very stars are kept from wrong, 
And the most ancient Heavens are fresh and strong.*' 

The culture of admiration is another important means of 
promoting the happiness of childhood. Admiration is essen- 
tial to all our best life, and is the source of our deepest, 
sweetest happiness. It is most closely associated with rever- 
ence, love and worship. Admiration is cultivated by the 
training of the aesthetic faculty, and associating with this the 
observation and perception of beauty wherever i* exists, in 
nature, art, and human character. All education must be 
one-sided, and all growth deformity if the existence and 
importance of the aesthetic faculty are ignored, and no pro- 
vision made for its training and development. 

In FrobeFs wide and deeply thought-out scheme we find a 
variety of means by which, frcwn the earliest years, this faculty 
receives its due culture. 

In the lessons on colour and form the eye of the little child 
IS drawn to beauty of hue and outline; he learns firom 
pictures, and by his own drawing and modelling, the charm of 
art ; in the various objects of nature presented to him he is 
taught to notice the variety of loveliness and perfection in the 
works of God; his ear is trained by music and song and 
rhythmic exercises to delight in sound and in harmony ; and 
by the "use of stories in the. Kindergarten" the child is 
introduced to the great world of the ideal in human character 
and life. Under this careful training the power of admiration 
is kept in constant exercise, and the happiness which children 
through this enjoy only a Kindergarten teacher knows. 

It is to this early training that we look with hope for a wider, 
truer culture of the aesthetic faculty in later life, when the lines 
started in the Kindergarten are carried on into the study 

The Happiness of Childiood, Jl 

of art and literature. And then the fastidious taste for 
a particular style, or the false fancy for an exceptional type of 
character, or single phase of sentiment, will be exchanged fdr 
a delight in all the infinitely varied beauty of the whole world 
of nature and of art ; and the full recognition of every sweet 
and noble element which has a place in God's ideal of man. 

The careful training of the Kindergarten teaches children to 
recognize and delight in the bits of beauty in things otherwise 
impcafect or homely. And this quickness of eye for all that is 
beautiful and good does not only greatly increase the 
happiness which is derived from the outward world, but it 
quickens also the inward eye, to detect broken lights of the 
divine beauty, shining amongst what is common-place and evil 
in human character. Here is ground again for the deep joy 
of undying love, for love is joined with hope, and can suffer 
long, yet still work on, trusting in the final triumph of good. 

From admiration we pass naturally to love as another 
essential to the happiness of childhood. And here we reach 
the harmony between man and the world above and around 
him, without which life is full of discord, misery and despair. 
Love begins with life, and all love, instmctive love, and 
gratitude, are a joy to the child; but love founded on 
admiration, and the satisfying of the ideal, is not reached at 
once ; it is the result of previous steps. It has to do, there- 
fore, with those conditions of happiness which must enter into 
the scheme of education and training. But through these a 
little child may be led to find the love of God a source of 
deepest, sweetest happiness. "We needs must love the 
highest when we see it ;" but the eye needs some preparation 
before we can see the highest ; there are steps in the ascent^ 
and we must be careful, too, to guard against clouds and dark- 
ness intervening. Let the thought of God be first associated 
in the mind of a child with all the good gifts and blessinga of 
life» but not with its catastrophes and terrors. The attempt 

72 The Happiness of Childhood. 

to impress a child with an idea of the greatness of God from 
this side produces a wrong conception, because a child cannot 
^associate love with anything but gentleness and tenderness. 
Thus a little child was told, that the thunder was the voice of 
God, and this at once produced the remark, " Then I don't 
like God at all, and never shall" Too often the representa* 
tion of God made to little children has been such as to pro- 
duce fear and misery, rather than love and happiness ; and 
many a tender little heart has been filled with self-reproach-* 
ful grief, because it could not love the object represented as 
claiming its best affections. There is, of course, a sense in 
which suflfering is the very act of love ; but this is a hard 
lesson, and the tender nature of a little child cannot at first 
Teceive it. The more, however, the little child learns to love 
God in the brightness and happiness of life, the better he will 
be prepared to still trust and love in the darkness and the 

It is unnecessary to enter here on the general subject of 
religious teaching; but in order that religion may be the 
happiness of childhood, two things are necessary in regard to 
it The teaching must be personal and intelligible. All that 
makes (jod known, as the Divine Father, his works, his 
dealings with man in past ages, and the manifestation of 
himself in Christ, the Saviour and lover of little children, a 
child can lay hold of and live by ; and unless the religious 
teaching lead to the i>ersonal adoration and love of Che 
Most High, and to trust and obedience, it can be no joy or 
support to the child. The learning by heart of abstract 
theology, in whatever way put forth, or of words expressing 
feehngs a child does not experience, can only be dark and 
wearisome; for a child learns through the imagination and 
the heart ; he can see and love long before he can understand. 

God only teaches what the mind can receive; Christ, the 
Great Teacher, reserved the most important truth until his 

The Happiness of Childhood. 73 

disciples could receive it ; but the minds of little children are 
often loaded with a mass of unintelligible religious teaching, 
beneath which they sink oppressed and discouraged. It is 
this forcing of everything at once upon a child, before he can 
grasp it, that often makes religious teaching a misery rather 
than a joy. It is sometimes held to be a duty to teach 
advanced religious truth to children, so that what they have 
learnt in childhood may be their support in later years ; but 
unintelligible teaching cannot be a preparation for later 
experience and needs. It either passes from the mind 
altogether, or it creates false and grotesque conceptions of 
solemn things. There is no real need to prepare in childhood 
for the wants of after life. The best foundation is to teach the 
child what he can receive and assimilate at the time, that which 
shall be his life, and strength, and happiness in childhood. 
There is plenty of religious teaching in the world suited to 
advanced intelligence, and we may trust that all good seed 
will be provided with the needful means for its aftergrowth 
and fuller development. That religion may be a source of 
happiness in childhood, let us think of the child and not of 
the man. 

An important part of training, as regards the happiness of 
children, is in self-denial and love to others. Even a child 
feels the misery of selfishness, and there is scarcely a more 
unhappy sight than a little creature spoilt by indulgence, and 
full of itself. The very means taken to make children happy 
may easily become a cause of misery, if the great object of 
the loving parent is to satisfy every desire of the child, to 
give all, and demand nothing in return. The self-engross- 
ment and weary satiety that are a part of the unhappiness of 
the present generation, have been produced by the too anxious 
devotion of parents to the physical well-being of their children, 
and the supplying them with a super-abundance of objective 

74 The Happiness of Childliood. 

A large fiamily will supply naturally a good deal of the train* 
bg needed for love and self-denial ; but even here it very often 
happens that while this has been supplied to the elder ones 
by the claims upon their kindness and care by the littie ones, 
the younger children themselves grow up in thorough selfishness. 
With an only child the case is still worse. Children need 
companionship with those of their own age and standing; 
they need to belong to a community of equals, in order that 
they may learn sympathy, love, self-repression and harmony 
of action. Those who know the happy life of the Kindergarten 
will readily grant its immense influence over children in 
giving them this kind of training. The spirit of love which 
prevades every part of FrobeFs system is shown most strongly 
in the means for training children in thoughtfulness for each 
other, in unselfish generosity, and in the sense of the brother- 
hood of humanity and its union, through combined action. 

The exercise of compassion and sympathy, joined with 
active kindness, is always a joy to children ; if no attempts 
are made to force or overstrain the feeling. There is a God 
given callousness in childhood to the deeper sorrows of life, 
and we must in no way seek to break this up. The feel- 
ings of children can only be trained through the sorrows 
they can realize and imderstand. Many a little child has 
heard without a pang of feeling of terrible accidents and 
losses of human life, and has yet smudged with heart-felt tears 
the page in " Original Poems " about " the little bird who 
built a warm nest in a tree," and was robbed of its young by 
some boys who were " wicked and rude." The sympathy ot 
children with the oppression of the small and the weak is 
readier than with the sufferings of men. The story is very 
characteristic, of the little boy to whom his Mama showed a 
picture of Daniel in the lions' den. The child sighed and 
looked much distressed, whereupon his mother hastened to 
assure him that Daniel was sudi a good man that God did 

The Happiness of Childhood. 75 

not let the lions hurt him. " Oh," replied the little fellow, 
** I was not thinking of that ; but what I was afraid of was 
• that those big lions were going to eat all of him themselves, 
and that they would not give that poor little lion down in the 
comer any of him/' 

It is through the little troubles which grieve childish hearts 
that children learn pity and sympathy. The real feeling called 
forth by the little bird fallen from its nest and mother's care 
is an actual development in tenderness ; and the gentle treat- 
ment of the pet kitten is a real exercise of kindness ; and 
these, if we will only wait till the right time comes, will 
blossom into genuine philanthropy. The attempt to force and 
overstrain the feelings of children by those stories of crime and 
wretchedness which are now so often placed in children's 
hands is attended by great danger. It is a shock to the simple 
faith and happy innocence of childhood, and seems to produce 
in the end a morbid taste for sensational fiction, accompanied 
by a hardened indifference to real sin and sufifering, 

It seems scarcely necessary to say that plenty of employment, 
work, and play is a necessity to the happiness of childhood. 
The plaintive little cry, "What shall I do? I want something 
to do," shows a state of fretful dulness that demands imme- 
diate attention. Children require help in finding something 
to do, and to send a child away with an exhortation against 
idleness, and the command to find some employment, is no 
better than the Egyptian taskmasters, who said to the Israelites, 
" Ye are idle, ye are idle," and sent them to make bricks with- 
out any straw. A child must be provided with materials for 
work, and also for play, and he must be taught how to use 
them. The exercise of invention and construction is a great 
delight to a child ; but both need training, and often help and 
suggestion. Invention is often slow, and needs quickening, 
and the little fingers need practice in dexterity, so that the 
result may g^'ve pleasure and satisfaction to the worker. Here, 

^6 The Happiness of Childhood. 

again, the wonderful thought and ingenuity of Frobel have 
provided in the Kindergarten a training in work which makes 
it a constant source of happiness to the child. 

But children also need help and suggestion for their play. 
Play is, as Frobel saw, the instinctive life of the child express- 
ing itself in action ; and he provides for this joyful activity a 
number of games in which the mind of the child finds 
pleasure, and the activity is regulated and harmonized, without 
in any degree suppressing it The natural plays of children 
most frequently represent scenes of real life ; but a child's ex- 
perience and knowledge of life is very narrow, and children 
often weary of repeating the same scenes. In the games of 
the Kindergarten they are supplied with a large number of 
dramatic representations of occupations and scenes taken from 
a variety of different phases of life, such as they could not 
become acquainted with in their limited experience. 

Toys, which are "not too bright and good for human 
nature's daily food," contribute largely to the happiness of 
childhood ; but even simple toys must not be supplied in such 
abundance as to produce satiety. Nothing can be worse for 
a child than to have the toys which he has carelessly broken, 
or thrown aside, constantly replaced by new ones. 

Good toys, which are to make children happy for many a 
day, must either be such as lay hold of the imagination and 
the heart, or they must give exercise to a child's activities. 
We may generally judge what toys answer these ends by the 
place which certain toys have long held in the estimation 
of children. Generations of babies have hugged and loved 
little, white woolly "bow-wows," with black bead eyes and 
squeaky fore-grounds ; and the little boy of to-day believes 
in his straight-legged, spotted horse, with its furry mane and 
tail, and cares for its stabling and good treatment with as 
much faith and love as his father and grandfather had for the 
same horses in their time ; while the little mothers of the nur- 

The Happiness of Childhood. 'J'J 

sery still wash and dress and pet their dolls with the 
same loving tenderness as their mothers and grandmothers 
bestowed upon the wooden babies of their childhood. Other 
old toys, the Noah's Ark, the Farmyard, and the Doll's 
House, keep their places in the regard of children, through the 
power they have of engaging the imagination. Amongst toys 
which exercise a child's activity the box of bricks is always a 
deserved favourite, and does not weary, from its capability of 
being used in so many different ways. Some new toys of this 
class have lately been introduced, which give much happiness 
to children. Amongst these is the little kitchen-stove, in which 
tiny real dinners can be cooked, and fairy cakes and pies 
baked. There are also washing-tubs, pails, and mangles, by 
which busy little washerwomen can get up dolls' clothes in 
first-rate style ; as well as milk-pans, chums, and stamps for 
making real butter. The box of gardening tools must not be 
forgotten. A little garden is a constant source of healthy 
delight to every child. It was part of Frobel's plan that every 
child should grow up as much as possible under the influences 
of nature, and learn her lessons from herself ; and the original 
Kindergartens were held in summer in an open space of ground 
shaded by trees. Each child had a little piece of ground 
given to him, where he sowed seeds, and watched the process 
of their growth, and dug and raked the earth ; and gardening 
formed a part of the Kindergarten occupations. The uncer- 
tainty of our climate makes it difficult for Kindergarten teachers 
to carry out this part of the system in England ; but as Fro- 
bel's system is better understood, and when those who have 
themselves been trained in it become the fathers and mothers 
of the coming race, care will be taken that the home supplies 
what the Kindergarten may not be able to accomplish. 

It was also a part of Frobel's plan to have pet animals kept 
for the children in the Kindergarten to care for and look after. 
The influence of pet animals has been already referred to as 

78 The Happiness of Childhood. 

promoting gentleness and tenderness of feeling ; but besides 
these good results, there is great delight in the mutual affec- 
tion that springs up between children and their pets; and 
there is great pleasure in attending to the wants of animals, 
and in watching their habits. The dever little dog, the play- 
ful kitten, the pretty rabbits, the gentle dove, the hen and her 
soft little brood, are unfailing sources of happiness in child- 

The happiness of children does not entirely depend on 
conditions belonging to education and training; it is also 
greatly promoted or checked by the influence of persons 
aroimd them. It is not enough to provide the essentials 
of happiness ; we must be careful also that we do not destroy 
the effect of these by our own manner and tone. The special 
checks to the happiness of children arising from those around 
them are, irritability, gloom, coldness, and want of sym- 

Many a well-intentioned parent has made his children 
miserable, in order that he may indulge his own irritability. 
The constant feult-finding, the perpetual wonying of children 
about trifles, seldom spring from any desire for their real 
improvement ; but it affords a convenient outlet for irritability, 
because children are obliged to take and bear what grown-up 
persons would resent and put down. Harsh words, severe con- 
demnation of little things, refusals of innocent requests, snub- 
bing and contradicting, wear the hearts and spirits of the little 
ones until they become in their turn as peevish and miserable 
as those who have made them sa 

Children need to live in the atmosphere of cheerfulness. 
Their sensitive and delicate natures are far more susceptible 
to surrounding influences than ours, and they readily take 
their tone from the persons with whom they live. They 
are soon cast down by a gloomy parent, teacher, or nurse, 
whereas thqr revive like little flowers, and hold up their 

The Happiness of Childhood. 79 

drooping heads in the presence of a sunny spirit If we 
would, as Frobel urges, " live for our children/' we must cast 
aside our irritability and gloom, and show them at all times 
the sweetness and light of a loving and bright spirit. And the 
effort to do this is like mercy " twice blest ; it blesses him that 
gives, and him that takes.'* 

Children also need warmth, as well as light., They under- 
stand but little of the deep love which by self-sacrifice and 
constant ihou^t seeks their good in all the arrangements of 
their lives. Many things which a kind and wise parent orders 
for his children, are not perceived by the children themselves, 
and much of the conduct of a teacher is mbunderstood by his 
younger pupils ; it is necessary, therefore, to give to children 
the assurance of love, not only in well-meant deeds, but in the 
little marks of tenderness and affection, shown by words and 
caresses. These are the natural expression of a little child's 
love, and he looks for these in return, and is chilled and 
repelled by coldness of manner, even where there may be a 
depth of real love existing in the heart 

Many children suffer very much in childhood from the want 
of sympathy in those around them. They see that they are 
misunderstood and misjudged, and yet they cannot explain 
themselves, or express their real feelings, because they know 
that if they were to do this older persons would not feel with 
Ihem. We must not forget that children live in quite another 
world from ours ; but it is one in which we ourselves have 
once dwelt It is possible to us, therefore, to look at things 
from their point of view, although they cannot see things from 
ours. We have stood where they now stand, and we must 
strive to become again as little children, to see with their eyes 
and feel with their hearts ; we must seek to remember what 
were once our great interests in life, what we chiefly prized, 
what were our loves, our joys, our griefs, our ignorance, and 
our fears. 

8o The Happiness of Childhood. 

And we may gain help also in the endeavour to sympathize 
more with children by studying the writings of Frobel. His 
long and patient observation of child nature gives to his writ- 
ings on this subject the trustworthiness of scientific con- 
clusions ; for every statement is the result of a series of careful 
observations made of children, under all the circumstances 
of their daily lives. 

The happiness of childhood is a sacred trust placed in our 
hands, and the responsibility lies with us of promoting and 
guarding it, unselfishly and wisely. It is something to be able 
to give to human beings a few short years of happiness ; but 
this is not the end. Childhood soon passes away, and the 
years of labour and care are long ; but then comes the time 
when, as Carlyle says, " the man finds that he can do without 
happiness, for instead thereof he finds blessedness." Now 
this blessedness of the life of later years, is, we believe, but the 
ripening of those early blossoms of happiness, that make bright 
the days of childhood ; and it is with this most important 
consideration also in view that we would press so strongly on 
those who have the training of the next generation in theii 
hands that they should endeavour by all means in their power 
to seek and to preserve the Haopiness of Childhood. 




This lecture is intended for Kinder-Garten teachers, in order 
to draw their attention to a book which contains Probers prin- 
ciples, and shows his way of training little children; it is 
therefore a guide-book for those who have set themselves the 
task of spreading the knowledge of a rational and, at the 
same time, philosophical education. Students of FrobeFs 
theory, above all, must study his original works, and not be 
satisfied with abridgments and adaptations. The fountain- 
head supplies the living spring, which will impart freshness 
and buoyancy. 

In our work, especially, we continually need to be re-invigor- 
ated, as we are surrounded by so many prejudices and 
obstacles, and as we hear numerous objections, which tend 
to damp our enthusiasm or shake our convictions. 

However, for those who do not read German, there is now 
an American translation of the " Mutter und Kose Lieder," 
with a preface by Miss Peabody. Much can be learned on 
this subject also firom the second part of " Child and Child 
Nature ; "* and besides these, several efforts have been made 
to translate the songs into English, which translations, how- 
ever, exist only in manuscript. 

* A translation of Baroness Marenholz-BUlow's book, published by 
Souneoschein and Allen. 


82 ''Mothers' Song and Talkr 

The most familiar games out of the book, with explanations, 
will be found in "Music for the Kinder-Garten." (Boosey 
and Co.) 

I purpose to speak chiefly to Kinder-Garten teachers, who 
would like to become acquainted with one of FrobeFs books, 
which is not easy to translate into English, and which is really 
not translatable into any language but that of a mother's sweet 
conversation and loving tones to her darling child. 

A mother will understand the substance of this book ; a 
mere critic or casual observer will not For mothers Frobel 
has written it; from mothers he has learnt what he has 
written ; and therefore it might be asked, "What have others 
to do with it ? " It was, however, to women that Frobel has 
given his charge, when he addressed the meeting on that 
memorable day, June 24th, 1840, in Blankenburg (a small 
town in the principality of Schwarzburg Rudolstadt, Thiirin- 
gen, Germany), from which place and date the Kinder-Garten 
may be said to have origiftated. 

All women may act as universal mothers; in all kinds of 
relationships they must manifest a motherly spirit ; and from 
this no teacher must exempt herself — least of all, a Kinder- 
Garten teacher. 

The book, therefore, of which we speak to-night, addresses 
itself to all who take charge of children, and thus represent 
the mother. What does it mean when a mother brings you a 
child into the Kinder-Garten ? 

I understand it thus : " I bring you my child ; take care of 
it as /would do ; *' or, " Do with my child what it is right to 
do ; " or, " Do with it better than I am able." A silent 
agreement is made between the parents and you, the teacher ; 
the child is passed from hand to hand, from heart to heart : 
what else can you do but be a mother to the little one, for the 
hour, morning, or day, when you have the sacred charge of a 
young soul? In hope and trust the child is brought to you, 

" Mothers' Song and Talk:' 83 

and you have to show yourself worthy of the confidence 
which is placed in your skill, your experience, or your know- 
ledge. We thus identify the teacher with the mother, and 
even include every one, who is in the presence of a little child, 
among those who have duties to fulfil, and who might learn of 
Frobel how to perform them. 

JWs book, " Mutter und Kose Lieder," or " Mother's Song 
and Talk," was published in 1843. 

Probers first wife, who died in 1839, had furnished him 
with valuable materials ; the family circles of his friends in 
Keilhau had given, him opportunities of watching the develop- 
ment of little children (for he had none of his own) ; the 
beautiful landscapes on hill and dale, which surrounded him, 
had ever shown to him that children must be brought up in 
harmony with nature ; his own loss of a mother's tender care 
made him the more appreciate the importance of a mother's 
love in early infancy ; and his own experience of the social 
life for which children must be prepared, all are causes which 
resulted in the issue of this book. 

In it Frobel addresses the mother; he speaks to her in 
language that must surprise everyone, for he seems to feel in 
his own heart all the vibrations of love, joy, hope, fear, and 
anxiety which a mother only knows when watching her infant ; 
but he also expects her to know her duty thoroughly. She 
must understand that every movement, every cry, every smile 
of her little one, are indications of an inward development. 
The child soon shows the germs of physical, mental, and moral 
abilities, and these must be nurtured, protected, and guided. 

In this book Frobel puts in the mother's lips such words, 

and he fancies her heart is full of such music, as make her 

seem as though she felt her dignity and responsibility. " A 

child" suggests the idea of a "gift from God" to Frobel, as 

it did to the Hebrews of old \ and to Him it must be brought 

again, as Hannah did with Samuel. 

G 2 

84 "^ Mother^ Song and Talkr 

The mother should see a "three-fold heaven" united in 
the possession of her child — namely, the happiness of past, 
present, and future — and hers is the sacred duty of preserving 
that happiness. 

The words Faith, Love, Hope ; or Light, Love, and Life, 
are the types of her feelings and actions towards the child 
who lies before her in the cradle. 

The child's smile is to the mother the sign of health, of 
bodily comfort, and the beginning of the joyous laughter that 
will ring through the house in future years, if health and hap- 
piness have been preserved. A cry will find an echo in her 
heart ; she hastens to open her ever-ready arms, and, by her 
love, her wisdom and her skill, soothes the pain, and does not 
rest until she sees the welcome smile again. 

A movement of arms or feet teaches her that the child feels 
its strength and wants to use it. She helps, she lifts, she 
teaches, and while playing with her infant's hands and feet, she 
is never short of a talk or song. 

The Clappers in the Mill, the sound of which reach her ear, 
suggest the up and down movement of the feet 

*' The Weathercock" (No. 9), that of the hands and wrist. 

" The Clock" (No. 12), that of the arms. 

"The Mowing of the Grass" (No. 13), and 

" The Swimming of the Fishes" (No. 16), that of the arms 
and whole body. 

"The Baker" (No.- 18). 

"The Bird's Nest" (No. 19). 

*« The Pigeonhouse" (No. 21). 

'•The Piano" (No. 26). 

*«The Wheelwright" (No. 45). 

" The Carpenter" (No. 46), that of the hands. 

Thus Frobel provides a series of pages for the mother, 
which contain Pictures, Mottoes, Verses and Music. 

In looking at the whole book we find that it may be divided 

''Mothers' Song and TalkJ' 85 

into four portions, each of which has its peculiar feature; 
namely, — 

1. The Symbolical 

2. The Emotional. 

3. The Practical. 

4. The Explanations. 

A few hints must suffice in speaking about the first and 
second parts. 


On the outside cover of the book are the words 

Mother's Love, 
Mother's Song, 
Mother's Play. 

The figures represent the mother holding her boy and girl in 
her arms ; the former already turns his face outward as if to 
say, " Into the wide, wide world I'll go 1" The girl clings to 
her mother, as if to say, " Here is my home." At the mother's 
feet are scattered roses and thorns, the representation of the 
way in which the children will repay her care in the future. 

On the other side of the cover is a picture of the father, who 
protects his daughter and leads his son ; the words round the 
border meaning 

Clear mind. 
Noble actions, 
Pious courage. 

The title-page shows us a little picture of a mother who is 
surroimded by her own and neighbour's children, whom she 
teaches, she knowing the meaning of the call, 

" Come, let us live for our Children 1 '• 

Then there are a boy and girl who are busy in a garden ; 
another girl looks into the depths of a lily ; her brother eniovs 

86 " Mothers' Song and Talk!' 

the fragrance of the flower. He stands on a cube, she on a 
ball. (Kinder-Garten teachers will here see a reference to the 
symbolical meaning of the 2nd gift). 

Art and nature are interwoven on this page. Pillars, richly 
decorated, point heavenwards ; from above shines the sun on 
the picture below, and the stars unite in forming a crown, which 
will await the mother when she enters heaven. The angel of 
peace is represented as descending upon the scene, and 
making it into an earthly paradise. 


The second portion contains one picture and seven pieces 
of poetry, which tells us what the mother would feel on 
beholding her infant, in whose rosy cheeks, wondering eyes, 
and chubby tiands and feet, she delights. See page 2 of 
" Mutter und Kose Lieder," the song set to most appropriate 
music, " O Kindchen du mein." 


The third portion is the practical or educational part. The 
series of pictures and songs are scenes taken from children's 
life in country parts of Germany, and more particularly from 
the part where Frobel lived during the years 1838 to 1844 ; 
namely, in Keilhau and Blankenburg. Indoors and out of 
doors, in the yard, garden, field, wood, and in the workshops, 
the children are represented. Birds, fishes, domestic and wild 
animals, come before their notice; trees, flowers, wind and 
water, sun, moon and stars, attract their attention, and rouse 
their admiration. What a world of wonders ! what a range for 
observation ! What varied sources from which to gather know- 
ledge ! and what use the mother makes of all this ! There is 
not a movement outside that she cannot imitate with the 

''Mother^ Song and Talk!* 87 

child ; and thus she creates pleasant moments, and numerous 
physical exercises, by which she fixes the subject more firmly 
upon her child's mind. The fingers, hands, wrists, arms, legs 
or whole body, are strengthened by imitating the Weathercock 
Clock, the Mowing, the Baking, the Pigeons, Chickens and 
Hare. Even for the fingers alone, the mother knows special 
movements, so that a toy is always at hand — the cheapest toy 
in the world — one's own fingers ! The mother also knows 
that it is necessary to train the senses, not only because books 
on education speak often of that training, but because she 
knows her child has active organs of the senses which want to 
do something, since the mind is longing for food, which the 
senses convey. The ear must hear language, music, the gentle 
accents and warning voices of father and mother ; it must dis- 
tinguish the sounds of the wind, water, the noises of animals, 
and when the ear has been trained to distinguish external 
sounds, it will learn to listen to the voice of conscience and of 
God. (See "Mutter und Kose Lieder," Picture 51, the 
Cuckoo). The eyesight is directed to objects far ^and near, 
the pigeons flying (Picture 15), the hares running (Picture 33), 
the light flickering on the wall, and farther away still are the 
calm beauty of the moon, and the twinkling stars in the dark 
blue sky. No wonder the little boy (Picture 30), wanted to 
climb up the ladder to the moon ! — heaven and earth he would 
hold in the little span of his hand. No wonder the little girl 
by her mother's side (Picture 31) called the two bright stars 
she saw the first time in her young life, " Father and Mother 
Stars,** for she knew who were to her the brightest stars on 

The senses of taste, touch, and smell, all, also, receive care 
and attention. 

. Another side of the child's development needs great care. 
This is the moral one ; and many an opportunity the mother 
finds for developing it 

88 " Mothers' Song and Talk:* 

The pictures of "All's Gone" (No. lo), "The Boy and 
Girl at the Fair" (Nos. 52 and 53), are lessons on content- 

The "Grassmowing"(No. 13), "The Target-maker" (No. 17), 
"The Charcoal-burners" (No. 38), "The Builder" (No. 39), 
and the" Wheelwright" (No. 45), teach respect for others. 

"The Wolf" (No. 34), and "The Boar" (No. 35), contain 
warnings against greediness. 

"The Fishestf (No. 16), "The Bird's Nest" (No. 19), 
speak against cruelty to animals. 

" The Visitors and the Children " (Nos. 47, 48, 49), are 
about behaviour in the presence of strangers. 

"The Clock" (No. 12), and "The Baker" (No. 18), are 
lessons on punctuality. 

"The Grassmowing" (No. 13), "The Charcoal Burners" 
(No. 38), "The Carpenter" (No. 39), "The Brook" (No. 
40), and " The Joiner " (No. 46), teach our dependence on 
the help of others. 

The a|ections also need nourishment, and the manner of 
stimulating them is suggested in the pictures of " The Child 
falling, and the Mother lifting it up " (No. 8), " The Flower- 
basket" (No. •20), and the "Pigeon-house" (No. 21); and 
the religious training receives special care in " The Brook " 
(No. 40), and the " Church-door " (No. 54). 

The artistic tastes, too, are not forgotten in this book, being 
specially recognized in the picture of the " Piaao and Fingers " 
(No. 26), "Drawing" (No. 55), and the "Window" (No. 37), 
for architecture. Poetry also accompanies every picture. 

Without force or hurry the child has learned to know the 
world it lives in. Unconsciously it moves through the 
wonders of nature, guided by the hand of father and mother; 
but tk^ are conscious of what they have taught the child. 
All its powers must be unfolded, because a harmonious edu- 
cation is tlie plan they have laid out for it They are aware 

''Mothers' Song and Talkr 89 

of their sacred duties ; they feel that an immortal soul is given 
to their charge. Nothing is too small for their notice that 
concerns its welfare — ^nothing too trifling ; but in all its move- 
ments, silent wishes, and gentle hints, they see the '' Father of 
the man." 
So much, to night, for the practical part of the book. 

IV. ^ 

The last division contains the explanations of the pictures 
by Frobel himself — ^where he says : — 

" Now, after fifty yeare, it is clear to me what I have longed 
for since I was a boy. Will it be fifty and more years before 
thou, oh, mother 1 knowest what thy child's life requires of 

The child's education is thus grounded, and his afiections 
established at home; and on this foundation th& Kinder- 
garten teacher is to build her training, which must be in perfect 
harmony with the former. This book, therefore, must also be 
her guide-book. As Frobel himself says of it ; that in it he 
has " laid down his principles ; and whoever understands this 
book,'understands also what is his aim." The finger, hand, and 
arm exercises fiimish the Kindergarten teacher with numerous 
games ; those which were played in the nursery can be con- 
tinued in a larger circle of children. Examples thereof are the 
"Pigeon-house,'' "Fishes," "Basket," "Bird's Nest," and 
"Weathercock"; and adaptations, as the "Chickens," 
"Garden," "Clocks," "Hare," "Brook," "Cooper," and 

The Kindergarten teacher recognizes the child's power of 
imitation, which was so easily trained, and she suggests more 
difificult actions that may be imitated ; but she checks what is 

90 ''Mother^ Song and Talkr 

not to be copied. Certain animals have graceful movements 
and gerttle habits, others have not. 

Frobel gives us an example of the latter in the picture of 
the " Wild Boar and Wolf.'' 

That of the boar may seem strange to us here \ but in some 
forests in Germany they are kept in large numbers — ^as, for 
instance, in the mountains and park of the Prince of Schwar3&- 
burg Rudolstadt (whence the scenes in pictures 34 and 35 
were taken), several hundreds of these animals are kept. 

A word has to be added about the poetry, music, and pictures 
themselves. Frobel composed the verses ; but he was not a 
poet. The rules of an artistic form were no hindrance to him 
when an idea had to be expressed. Many times he succeeded 
in his poetry, many times he did not. What does it matter ? 
We must do it better if we can. The music and drawings 
were executed under his direction to express what he meant, 
and they may be, and have been, attacked by both artists and 
amateurs. Many songs are too high and too difficult, but the 
leading idea is in every one. The drawings have faults in 
their human and animal figures ; but they were done by Fr. 
Unger, who was more of a landscape painter that a painter of 

Much can be said, but this sketch may help you in finding 
out the hidden treasures of this extraordinary book, which 
begins with the words : — 

" Let us live for our children," and 
" There is deep meaning in children's play.'' 

''Mothers' Song and Talk:' 91 

Extracts from " Child and Child-Nature/* 
wztA reference to FrdbeVs "Mutter u# 

The key-note of the book is the analogy between the 
development of humanity from its earliest infancy, and that 
of the individual. The fact that the germs of all human 
faculties and dispositions, as they show themselves in the life 
of humanity; in its passions, its efforts after culture, its whole 
manner of existence, are traceable in the nature of children as 
manifested in their instinctive utterances, this fact, I say, must 
be taken into account, in order that the games of children may 
be turned to their natural purpose, viz., the assistance of the 
child's development 

And even Frobel in the book in question has only taken the 
first step towards the attainment of this purpose, has done no 
more than point out in what manner it is possible. The filling 
up of gaps in the system, greater perfection of arrangement, 
and improvement in the outward form will not be difficult 
when, through more universal practical application, FrobeFs 
great educational theory meets with more and more thorough 
understanding. Genius has but to give utterance to its 
thoughts, and they will in due time become embodied in 
appropriate forms. 

Frobel rightly calls this book a family booky for only by its 
use in the family, in the hands of mothers, can it fulfil its pur- 
pose, and contribute towards raising the fiamily to a level of 

92 " Mothers' Song and Talk."" 

human culture corresponding to the advanced civilization of 
the day, and preparing mothers for their vocation in the 
highest sense. 

Frobel made his " Mutter u. Koselieder " the foundation of 
his lectures to Kindergarten teachers on his theory, and over 
and over again repeated : " I have here laid down the funda- 
mental ideas of my educational theory ; whoever has grasped 
the pivot idea of this book understands what I am aiming at 
But how many do understand it? Learned men have too 
great a contempt for the book to give it more than cursory 
attention; and the majority of mothers only see in it an 
ordinary picture-book with little songs. No doubt there are 
finer pictures and better verses to be had than mine, but of 
what use are they if wanting in any educational power ? Only 
a small minority of people get fix^m my book a real under- 
standing of my educational theory in all its fulness, but, if 
only mothers and teachers would follow its guidance they 
would at last see, in spite of all opposition, that I am right" 

1. That the first mental development of the child goes on in 
its play, and that this play needs, consequently, to be as much 
systematized as the instruction imparted at a later age. 

2. That by rightly meeting and assisting the natural force 
which vents itself in play, or by faulty and mistaken treatment 
of it, it may be directed either to good — />., to its true use — 
or to evil — />., its abuse ; and 

3. That the examples given in the " Mutter und Koselieder ** 
are psychologically based on the instinctive life of the child, 
even though they are not always expressed in the most perfect 

However much or little the nature of children may have been 
studied, no one has come up to Frobel in his searching analysis 
of every phase and detail of their development Following 

"* Mothers' Song akd Talkr 93 

the example of modem natural science, which has descended 
from the study of the greatest phenomena to that of the least, 
and is making its most important discoveries through micro- 
scopic investigations, Frobel, in the field of human nature, 
goes back to the smallest beginnings, and finds thus the first 
link in the chain which connects one moment of human develop- 
ment with all the others. He finds the law which lies at the 
bottom of all systematic development, and discovers the means 
for the application of this law. In the growth of the child he 
sees the same system of law as in organic growth generally, and 
he points out the complete analogy between the development 
of the child and that of the organisms of Nature and of 
humanity as an organic whole. 

During the first years of life the physical development is the 
nAost marked and prominent, but the growth of the soul, 
though unperceived, goes on, nevertheless, all the while ; for 
in infancy body and soul are still completely in union, and 
can only be developed through mutual interaction. It is on 
this principle that Frobel has compiled his " Mutter u. Kose- 
lieder." The games introduced in this book are adapted both 
to cultivating the limbs and senses, and guiding and assisting 
the mind in its first awakening stage. 

When a child of about a year old is taken out of doors, the 
things that first attract its notice are those that move. Move- 
ment signifies to children life^ and is what they first become 
aware of. Hence the child's glance will at once be arrested 
by a weather-cock, or any other object, moved by the wind. 

The child awakens to life in its mother's arms, its mother is, 
so to say, its own wider life. Without her care, without her 
looks of love, existence would offer a sorry prospect to the 
young new-comer. The mother must be her child's first 
mediator with the world and mankind. 

94 " Mothers' Song and Talk:' 

The first utterance through which the child expresses iij 
love-relationship to human beings, to its mother, is smiling. 
The human heart alone is capable of laughter and tears, and 
for the newborn infant this is the only language at command 
to express its wants and feelings. 

Extracts from " Music for the Kindergarten," 
by Eleonore Heerwart. 

We head the list of these games with four from FrobeFs 
" Mutter und Koselieder," which may also be played only as 
a finger and arm exercise ; " but these four — " The Basket," 
" The Weathercock," " The Pigeon-house," and " The Bird's- 
nest," do not exclude others from being used as proper finger- 
games, for we might also act " Gentle Bee," " The Fishes," 
"The Clappers," "The Trees," "The Sawyer," "The Clocks," 
"The Cooper;" nor does it mean that the first four games 
are only finger and arm exercises ; on the contrary, they are 
used in the Kindergarten as real Kindergarten games, espe- 
cially " The Pigeon-house ;" but we wish to point out that 
most of the games can be played at home, with one, two, or 
more children, as well as with a larger number in the Kinder- 
garten, and they will then furnish mothers with suitable con- 
versations and pleasant employments when they spend their 
time in the sweet companionship of their little ones. 

In fact, Frobel meant "The Basket," ".The Pigeon-house," 
&C., for the use of home, and wrote them especially for 
mothers. Theu: adaptation to the Kindergarten was a secon- 
dary thought. 

A Kindergarten game means a game which is played by 
many children, and conducted by a " teacher," The subject 

** Mothers' Song and Talk:' 95 

IS chosen from daily life, from nature, and especially from the 
sphere in which the child lives. 

The object of the game is to spend a happy hour with the 
children, to teach them the words, music, and time, and make 
these bear upon the child's physical, mental, and moral de- 

"THE BASKET.''— No. 48. 

This arm-and-hand exercise is translated from Frobel's 
"Mutter und Koselieder, No. 20," the picture of which 
shows us children who are gathering flowers, supposed to 
have been planted by themselves. The flowers are to be 
given to the father as a birthday present. The mutual affec- 
tion between parents and children will grow when it is 
noiuished, and will remain the strongest tie on earth. 

As a game in the Kindergarten, it may be played by holding 
little baskets filled with flowers, or by holding the hands in the 
shape of baskets, the thumbs representing the handle. A 
graceful movement of the body, and s^w^ging up and down of 
the arms, keeping time with the music, ^ill, give life to the 

« THE WEATHERCOCK.*'— No. 49. 

If asked, " What is the first plaything for children ?" we 
may reply, " Their own hands,'' for these are always near, and 
cost no money. 

Always to find something for the active little fingers to do, 
is a great task to many mothers ; but let Frobel teach them 
from his book of " Mutter und Koselieder " how many things 
the little fingers can imitate, and they will no longer be at a 
loss for a game. 

The child, in looking at the tops of houses, may happen to 
see a weathercock being turned by the wind. Immediately 
the mother seizes the opportunity for telling the child to 
imitate it with its arms and hands. The arm from the elbow 

96 " Mothers' Song and Talkr 

must be held erect, and the hand at right angles with it, turned 
with the inside towards the face. When the song begins the 
hand is turned outwards, and for every bar one movement is 
made. The wrist especially is strengthened by this exercise. 


Is it necessary to suggest how " The Pigeon-house " should 
be played ? It should be remembered that the children always 
form a ring, which in this case should be a closed one, to 
enable the children to say, " My pigeon-house I open wide.*^ 
A step or two backwards will widen the ring ; the arms a little 
raised will allow the pigeons to fly out and about, until the 
words "But soon they return" be heard, when they fly in 
again to sing their soft " Coo, coo." 

The pigeons may tell where they have been, and what they 
have seen in the fields. 

Other pigeons are then chosen, who do the same. 

To vary the game, there may be a farmer who owns the 
pigeons, and who fixes the hour when the house should be 
opened. The sound of a clock striking the hour may be 

If Frobel had left us no other game than this one, it alone 
would entitle him to be called " the children's friend," for it 
has given joy to many little ones. 

"THE BIRD'S-NEST."— No. 51. 

Children are delighted when they see birds, but they must 
learn to see and spare them. 

In his book of " Mutter und Koselieder " Frobel gives us 
a picture, a verse, and a lesson, that we may know how to cul- 
tivate in children love for birds, and respect for the parental 
feelings of the feathered tribe. TTiere would be no throwing 
of stones at swallows' nests under the eaves of houses, nor 

''Mothers' Song and Talk:' 97 

climbing of trees to take the eggs away, and other cruelties, 
if in every house and every place where children meet the life 
of birds were made the subject of talk, song, and a simple 
finger or hand gan»e such as " The Bird's-nest." 

It may form the introduction to the following game, or ;suc- 
ceed a story and description of birds. 

The children ma}- either sit or stand when they play "The 

The hands imitate the shape of the nest The thumbs repre- 
sent the old birds. 

It is well to mention the name of a special bird, as linnet, 
robin, &c. 

" THE FISHES."— No. 62. 

According to Frobel's " Mother's Song and Talk," Picture 
No. 16, the little child, after having become acquainted with 
the familiar world at home, is now introduced into a new 
scen^, where, in the cool forest, a silvery brook winds its way 
over rocks, between grasses, and rushes, and shady trees. 

New life shows itself before the wondering eyes of the 
child \ it hears the rustling of the branches, the singing of the 
birds, the splashing of the hasty brook, and it sees the golden 
lights between the tall trees, the soft green moss ; and in the 
clear water the astonished child discovers the trout, for the 
first time in his life. The little boy thinks, "That little fish is 
quick, but I will be quicker," and into the water he makes his 
way. After some fruitless attempts he succeeds in catching a 
little trout, which he hands to his sister, who stands on the 
bank and watches the movements of her brother. She holds 
the little fish and looks at the large eyes, the glittering scales, 
the forked tail, which moves to and fro : but all at once it 
stops ! — the eyes ! — the trout is dead ! For the first time in 
her young life she sees a creature dead in her hand, by het 
hand, or at any rate by her brother's hand. She calls him, 


q8 ** Mothers' Song and Talk:' 

«hows the dead fish, and the bo/s yet unhardened heart also 
feels that he has caused the death of the little trout. He had 
only wished to play, and did not mean harm. For his 
whole life he may have learned a lesson that even in play we 
must count the cost in order to make it what it should be, a 
harmless game at the least. There in the solitude of the wood, 
by the silvery brook, the early cruelty was checked by the 
first sad experience. A boy not yet spoilt by harsh, inconsistent, 
superficial treatment, righted himself by the dictates of his 
sorrowing heart. 

The game of the fishes, which is derived fi-om this picture, 
teaches us to imitate their movements, but not to persecute 
the fishes. Although the remark seems superfluous it may be 
permitted here, for it gives the rule for all games in the Kinder- 
garten and for all children, that cruelty should in no way be 

The ring is the pond, some children are fishes and imitate 
swimming by a movement of their arms, and the diving and 
rising by stooping when the song indicates it. The movement 
should be practised by all the children, as it requires great 
attention, owing to the ^-time in each bar. The subjects for 
conversation are very many before and after, the game, and 
may be varied according to the kind of fish which is chosen. 
In no other game is it more necessary for the Kindergarten 
teacher to be acquainted with the habits and structmres of 
the animals, as in this all vague and undecided answers of the 
children should be rejected. 



It is a subject of melancholy contemplation to the friends of 
education, that after public recognition of its importance for 
so many years, in some parts of the continent of Europe for 
a period of more than half a century, no great material re- 
sults of its influence have yet become manifest. Nations that 
were careless and pleasure-loving before, show the same spirit 
still; the unthrifty have not mended their ways; the wor- 
shippers of gold have not set up nobler idols ; the military 
spirit has not decreased ; the indolent indiflferentism that takes 
no interest in public affairs till roused by some great crisis, 
still reigns where it reigned before; those who believed that 
new eras may be inaugurated by the stroke of a pen or the 
machinations of secret societies, still hold their belief In 
short, the great masses of mankind through the most civilized 
nations of the world show little trace of the efforts made to 
raise, through education, their moxs^j^ intellectual condition. 
We are an educational society, and this question is one 
which must interest us deeply; for either we are wrong in 
attributing so much influence. to education, or we ought to 
be able to discern the causes^thftt have so far neutralised that 
influence. The inquiry is, 'Ijowever, so large that we must 
limit ourselves to a small portion of it We must leave aside 
the consideration of the wide social and political causes that 

H 2 

xcx> Wasted Forces. 

are antagonistic to the spread of the sounder views and prin- 
ciples which should be the result of wide-spread education, 
and confine ourselves to strictly educational considerations. 
Among these, three points deserve special attention : — ist, 
That while calling it education, we have actually given only 
elementary instruction. 2ndly, That the earliest and most 
plastic period of life has been neglected, thus leaving an 
almost impossible task to be performed in the succeeding one. 
3rdly, That the educational power of women has been 
neglected, left, to an enormous extent, untrained and unused. 

These three points are closely connected, the one with the 
other, and are ail intimately bound up with our own work as a 
Froebel Society. The first will scarcely be contested by any 
one. The utmost endeavours of elementary schools barely 
compass giving the first and simplest notions of necessary 
knowledge, with more or less use of the instruments for acquir- 
ing more, and such general benefit as results from the order 
and discipline of school life, and the influence of moral and 
religious teaching, whose precepts are too often at variance 
with the whole experience of the children out of school. If 
this were really education, we could only laugh at our own 
folly in expecting such large results firom so small a thing. 
When we speak of benefiting a people by education, we must 
mean that the mass of men and women should learn how to 
think more clearly, to judge more correctly, to act according 
to more fixed principles, to have, in short, more common 
sense and juster notions of duty ; and finally, to have percep- 
tion enough of the difference between ignorance and know- 
ledge to wish to take advantage of such opportunities as life 
may present to them to add to their stock of acquirements. 

How far the education of the well-to-do classes of any 
nation has hitherto produced such results generally, I will not 
inquire into here; but what right have we to expect they 
shall follow from the reading and writing and other small 

Wasted Forces. loi 

achievements of the elementary school ? Yet, I believe such 
achievements to be as much as schools can compass at 
present. Better methods might, doubtless, produce some 
improvement; and just views of education would do yet more ; 
but time fails for what has to be accomplished ; the imperative 
necessities of life limit the years that can be given to school 
instruction, and the work of those years is rendered doubly 
heavy by the neglect of those that have gone before. 

The infant-school system is designed to remedy some of 
these defects, and there is no doubt of the great benefits it 
has conferred. Unfortunately, the very large numbers taught 
together in these schools render nugatory much of the endea- 
vours to educate them. They are of an age to require indivi- 
dual attention, and they are dealt with in masses. The 
general influence on character of the order, regularity, obedi- 
ence, cleanliness enforced, is inestimable ; but with regard to 
strictly intellectual development, the system was not originally 
constructed on a scientific plan, and the effects are rather 
incidental than direct fruits of this method. The object- 
lessons are good, but they do not promote the natural deve- 
lopment of faculty like the Kinder-Garten exercises, and the 
manipulations of the latter are altogether wanting. The direct 
teaching is intended to prepare for later school-work, but it 
prepares by laying a foundation of reading and writing ; not 
the foundation of quickened faculties, exercised heads, and 
habits of comparing and judging, of speaking and moving 
accurately, which is the preparation of the Kinder-Garten. 
In short, these schools, invaluable as they have been, do an 
imperfect work, and of the vast numbers who have never been 
brought even under their influence, it is not too much to say 
that the child comes under the schoolmaster's hands, not 
ignorant merely, but with his moral and intellectual growth 
already warped. Rapid expansion of faculty has been going 
on from his birth, unwatched and undirected, and most of 

102 Wasted Forces. 

what he has learnt for himself has been inaccurately learnt, 
or rather hinders than aids the instruction he now comes to 
receive. Thus the second point indicated above, the neglect 
of the early period of life during which the mental and physical 
growths are so important, is evidently a principal cause of the 
failure of education, and it is a cause with which we, as the 
Froebel Society, are immediately concerned. If education is 
not only to give instruction, but to discipline the faculties and 
bring them into fit condition for observing, learning, and 
thinking aright, it is obvious that the whole of this work cannot 
begin at once. The child must have gradually learnt to use 
his mental powers as he has learnt to use his limbs and bodily 
strength before we exact from him any systematic exertion of 
the one or the other. While he is still quite incapable of 
acquiring abstract or general knowledge, he is capable of 
learning to observe correctly what is before him, and to draw 
a right inference from one thing he really understands to 
another, which is the foundation of all accurate study and 
thought hereafter. The child inevitably uses his faculties as 
he uses his limbs. The only question is, whether he shall 
grope with the forjier, or learn to use them rightly and with a 
purpose, as he learns to walk or to throw a ball. This is an 
obvious and quite elementary truth to any disciples of 
Froebel, and the Kinder-Garten is designed to supply this 
early education, or such portion of it as can be given out 
of home ; but to the ordinary framers of educational systems, 
national or other, it has not yet been made obvious, and so 
they neglect little children and hope that book learning will 
at a later period do the work of education. 

The third point I have mentioned is inevitably bound up 
with this question of infant training ; for that early portion of 
child life is altogether in the hands of women, either as 
mothers, nurses, or teachers, and if their educational power 
has been neglected we can hope for no reform that will lay a 

Wasted Forces^ 103 

better foundation for the after-work of the schoolmaster, or 
afford him that help he requires from the co-operation of home 
influence. We may fearlessly lay down the axiom that edu- 
cation in its true sense, as a real civilizing power, will remain 
in abeyance till women are recognized as the natural educators, 
and till then we shall continue to make vain efforts to supple- 
ment with instruction the absence of the wider influence of 

No one realized this truth more fully than Froebel, and 
after fruitless attempts to inaugurate a complete system of 
education during the ordinary school period, combining the 
development of faculty in children neglected up to the age of 
seven or eight, with the indispensable course of school instruc- 
tion, he realized that education must begin from the earliest 
dawn of life, and that mothers must be the educators This 
principle imderlies his whole system ; the Kinder-Garten pre- 
supposes it, and appeals to it throughout When we give a 
little attention to the subject, this fact is so self-evident that 
we only wonder how any one could for a moment have doubted 
it, or mistaken the true position of women as regards educa- 
tion. In one sense it never has been mistaken, for that 
mothers must bring up their children, to use the common 
expression, and that when the mother's care fails, such " bring- 
ing up " must be delegated to another woman, is the most 
universally acknowledged fact of every-day life ; but what is not 
so universally imderstood is, that the bringing-up is another 
name for education, and that education, to be effectual, must 
be conducted with a purpose and according to knowledge. 
Froebel did not discover a new fact, or even propound a new 
theory when he hailed women as the true ministers of the 
great work of reformation which he undertook. He only 
strove to give a new direction to the old activity, and to make 
manifest the true ground on which it should proceed. Pesta- 
lozzi, and even Rousseau before him, had made a public appeal 

104 Wasted Forces. 

to women ; but Froebel renewed it with fresh force, and his 
views of education aflford the simplest and fullest exposition 
of the duties incumbent upon them. Rightly or wrongly, 
for good or for ill, mothers have always and must always 
educate their children. Owing, doubtless, to its transcendant 
importance, this one great human duty, which God has placed 
'. under the safeguard of the strongest affection of woman's 
nature, is never consciously, wilfully neglected save by the 
most depraved in any class ; only they call it "bringing up," 
not education, leaving the latter for school-years and school- 
discipline. This mistake is the root of endless evil. It 
seems an error in words only ; but words are powerful things, 
for they help to form associations, and lead to wrong action 
when the associations they have formed are wrong. Froebel 
admitted no such distinctions between the influence of parents 
or teachers at one period and another, and when he speaks ot 
education, he means one and the same continuous process, 
beginning in infancy, and carried on through varied phases 
and by various means, till the grown-up man and woman take 
into their own hands the task, which will end only with the 
close of earthly existence. 

With such a view of education, when Froebel called upon 
women, he called upon them only to imdertake their natiual 
task, that which love and necessity equally bound upon them, 
with a wider and more distinct purpose ; as something not 
apart from the later task of the schoolmaster, but preparing 
the way for it, laying down the preliminary lines of his work, 
and, indeed, overlapping it in many directions, as home-life 
overlaps school-life. This substitution of a definite, far-search- 
ing purpose for the instinctive mother's care, of conscious 
education for desultory " bringing-up," is what has never yet 
been accomplished, except among a small minority ; and the 
reason is that education is ill-understood and women have not 
realized that if they are to tmdertake a serious task^ the success 

Wasted Forces. 105 

of which depends on knowledge of its conditions, they must 
acquire the knowledge. 

It is this duty of women to fit themselves for .their natural 
vocation as educators that I wish to press upon your attention 
to-night I need scarcely remind you how specially it bears 
upon our own peculiar work, which more than any other is 
helped by the action of mothers. There is no doubt such a 
thing as an instinctive gift for education, as there is for every 
other art which the majority of men have to acquire patiently 
and laboriously; and thus some women who have never 
studied the subject succeed in educating their children, and by 
their very success nourish the popular prejudice, that no 
special study is required for the performance of this natural 
duty. But when an unusually able woman, or the mother of 
unusually gifted children, morally or intellectually, produces 
an admirable result, without study of rules or principles, the 
way to test her success as a guide for the multitude, is to try 
and imagine what would be the result of the same high-handed 
ignorance of principles without the natural gifts. A system 
for common use must be fit for the mass of mankind, and the 
mass is not gifted. Every theory may safely assume the 
mother's love, because this is natural — all but unfailing ; but it 
cannot assume the possession by the mother of the native 
power which can supply the lack of knowledge, whether of 
human nature, in which the principles of education have theii 
root, or of those branches of instruction which furnish the 
subject-matter of education. Thence it is evident that when 
women are appealed to as natural educators, it is implied that 
they will make education their study, and acquire the know- 
ledge requisite for assisting the mental and physical develop- 
ment of their children during those years which prepare the 
course of all future years. It is not indispensable for mothers 
to be teachers, but if they do not know what constitutes good 
teaching they will not know what results to look for. There 

ic6 Wasted Forces. 

is no need that they should have made a deep study of either 
physiology or mental philosophy, but unless they clearly realize 
that mental and bodily health depend upon conditions which 
can be leamt only through some elementary knowledge of 
those two sciences, how can they ensure those conditions for 
their children, or how judge if they are or are not observed in 
the educational institutions, Kinder-Gartens or schools in which 
their children are to be placed ? 

All school education requires the foundation, the support 
and complement of home education; but to the Kinder-Garten, 
dealing with children at such a tender age, it is absolutely 
indispensable, and the want of it constantly cripples the 
teacher's best endeavours. A child of ten years old and 
upwards may begin to distinguish between the teaching and 
general influence of school and home. He can recognize 
where he is most stimulated to do well, to behave well ; what 
praise he most cares to work for; and, unfortunate as it is when 
the home holds a lower position in his estimate than the 
school, the higher influence is not lost. The little child, on 
the other hand, can distinguish nothing ; but he suffers from 
the jar produced by differences of treatment he cannot under- 
stand. The work of the Kinder-Garten teacher is not indeed 
lost, but it is thwarted by the child being placed at home under 
intellectual and moral direction proceeding on different prin- 
ciples, or most likely no principles at all, but simply the 
spontaneous unreasoning action of ignorant affection. Of 
the many sadder cases where even such care as this does 
not exist, but only neglect caused by the different forms 
of vice or folly belonging to the different classes of society, 
it is needless to speak. School-training in one way or 
another, according to age, is then the only resource; but 
once more, however, good it may be, it can but partly com- 
pensate for the absence of home education, and thus the 
study of education by women, their serious preparation for 

Wasted Forces. 107 

this great duty, is the pivot on which 'all ultimately turns. 
Vain will be any hope of lifting education out of the groove of 
routine teaching, till this is acknowledged ; till society remem- 
bers and enforces this truth: that whatever the position, 
occupations or other family duties of a woman, one sacred 
office is laid upon her who undertakes the responsibility of 
motherhood, and that is the care of her children in every sense 
in which care is needed ; guarding them from suffering ; pro- 
moting their bodily and spiritual welfare, aiding nature's 
gradual work of development in every direction. Such care 
is in a measure that of tiie physician as regards the right con- 
ditions of health, and it is also the true cure of souls. All this 
will be generally conceded and even looked upon as a truism ; 
yet, I repeat, it is practically denied every day and every hour, 
by the assumption that such a task can be executed without 
study or preparation ; by the assertion, implied if not put into 
words, that natural instincts and parental love will give the 
required ability for discharging the responsibilities of a parent 

We have now considered the three causes of failure I 
pointed out in the beginning, to explain the disappointment 
which has followed the high hopes of those who looked to 
national education as the ' regenerator of nations, and we 
have found wasted forces in three directions ; ist. The waste of 
labour and money in giving instruction which was vainly 
expected to produce the fruits of education. 2nd, Waste of that 
immense natural form of development of the child's faculties 
during the years we put to no account. 3rd, Waste of women's 
educational power and position, which we find fatally to involve 
the other two. This last, therefore, is the one which claims, 
on every account, our most earnest consideration, in order 
that, having found the central source of failure, we may, if 
possible, help towards finding a remedy. 

So wide-spread and deep-rooted an evil is not, however, 
easy to reach. It is only from a higher and purer view of 

io8 Wasted Forces. 

women's position generally, that we can hope for any wide 
recognition of this terrible waste of civilizing power, or any 
large endeavours to redeem the past But in all practical 
questions reforms may begin in a comer which shall presently 
spread over a wide field, and, therefore, all who can persuade 
a few women will help to turn public opinion. It is in this 
belief that I have brought forward the subject this evening, 
thinking it well that we, who are practically concerned in 
education, should consult together what we can do, individu- 
ally or as a society, to quicken in women, and in young 
mothers especially, the perception of their duty in this par- 
ticular. It is our special object to win over mothers of little 
children to study FroebeFs doctrine, and to take an interest in 
his method. It must then be our endeavour to present these 
to them in a manner which shall arrest attention and excite 
interest As a society we might possibly organize some plan 
for spreading knowledge of the first principles of education. 
For real students there are plenty of good books, and n6w 
that the whole subject is taken up in a new spirit, there are 
excellent lectures which, we trust, are not attended by pro- 
fessional students only. Our work should be a preliminary 
one, to endeavour to inspire those who know nothing with the 
desire to learn something ; to persuade women who have no 
professional inducement to take up the subject, that it is the 
real and sacred profession of all women who have taken upon 
themselves the responsibilities of motherhood. We do not 
want lectures on the Art of Teaching, — that may come after- 
wards, — but on the Art of Training, on the elementary 
notions of education, based on observation of the child's 
nature as it puts out its earliest shoots, and on the simplest 
methods of aiding their growth, and preserving them from any 
adverse influence which might thwart their development 
Such teaching as might be given on a few texts from FroebeFs 
"Song-book for Mothers/' or Mdme. von Marienholtz's 

Wasted Forces. * 109 

** Child Nature," would give a new turn to the thoughts of 
many earnest, intelligent women, who have not hitherto had 
their attention directed to such views ; and if the lectures 
could be illustrated practically through Kinder-Garten occupa- 
tions conducted before the audience and duly explained, and 
could their educational value be further exemplified by 
reference to Mdme. de Portugall's Synoptical Table, I think 
we might win many converts. Probably we should win, before 
long, a sufficient number to form here and there new centres 
of information, independently of our direct action. 

One of the reasons of the difficulty we find in getting 
Kinder-Garten training properly appreciated is, that its office in 
education is precisely that which has no immediately visible 
results, and is based on considerations strange to those who 
have not studied the subject If it taught reading and writing 
more rapidly than other systems, that would be a tangible 
merit, and, for the same reason, the manual dexterity cultivated 
by it, is seen to be a good thing. But the cultivation of the 
faculties themselves, to make them more fit for future work, of 
developing the child's own powers in every direction instead 
of teaching it grammar or history — ^this fundamental mental 
discipline is only understood by those who have learnt some- 
thing of what the various mental faculties are, and why such and 
such a mode of bringing them into action produces good or 
evil results. To persons who have given no attention to these 
things seeing is much the same as observing; little difference 
is perceived between knowing a thing by rote or knowing it 
with understanding ; and reasoning suggests something for the 
use of the learned only, and they find it hard to believe that 
the same process is needed to avoid blunders in those common 
judgments which seem so easy. It is when we begin to dis- 
entangle these things, and thus to perceive how much has to 
be done to prepare the child to see, to think, to act, and to 
learn with some correctness, that we feel the merits of FroebeFs 

no Wasted Forces, 

system; and it is just this part of the study of education that 
we should endeavour to place before young mothers in as 
clear and simple a form as possible. We have, I believe, 
peculiar opportunities of doing so, through the medium ot 
the Kinder-Garten itself, with its practical illustrations, and, I 
trust, we may seriously consider how best to enter upon this 
hitherto neglected phase of our work as a Froebel Society. 

But apart from this action of the Society, individual 
teachers might help materially, if they could persuade the 
mothers of their pupils to enter into the subject with them; 
to visit the classes frequently and to read any short explana- 
tions of what they see there. We cannot doubt that the 
mistresses of Kinder-Gartens, having the cause at heart, would 
welcome the opportunities for such conversations, and they 
might, perhaps, do something more to create the opportunities. 
It might be possible to gather a few ladies together to discuss 
difficulties. Small meetings might be organized by competent 
teachers, which a few might be invited to attend, and allowed, 
perhaps, to bring a friend, and at these, the occupations could 
be practically exhibited more fully than with a class of children, 
and their inter-dependence and educational value explained. 
Great good might, I feel convinced, be done in this way. 
Here a few and there a few would be won to intelligent com- 
prehension of the system, and their example and advocacy 
would win others. When once a little knowledge is gained, 
the more earnest minds will not stop there ; when interest is 
really kindled, the inspiring spirit will be kindled too. 

Members of the society who are not teachers might, at 
least, lead those who want knowledge to the sources where it 
may be found ; they can speak their own convictions, though 
they may have no practical familiarity with the method ; they 
may persuade any of their own friends who are inclined to 
send their children to the Kinder-Garten, to become scholars 
themselves All minor difficulties will vanish if mothers learn 

Wasted Forces. iii 

enough to feel the value of what their chfldren are learning. 
The Kinder-Garten would assume quite a new importance in 
their eyes, and there would be many earnest endeavours to 
bring the home management into harmony with it 

And now I can hear objectors say : " Supposing you have 
done your utmost with the women of the educated classes, 
how does this view of mothers' duty apply to the far more 
numerous class of the uneducated ? If it is as educators of 
the race that we appeal to women, the appeal must include 
them also." Perfectly true; but it can reach them only 
through the medium of their happier sisters, and the general 
influence of higher views. It is only too certain that educa- 
tion, like all other benefits of human knowledge, will ever be 
relative to the class addressed. Means and leisure must 
ultimately give the measure of what can be attained, however 
just and liberal the system under which we live. But what we 
may expect is that more and more as true Christian civilization 
grows among us, those who have most intellectual advantages 
will facilitate to those who have least, the acquirement of what 
tends to elevate their condition as human beings. If it is 
reckoned even now a fair measure of justice to put all grades 
of instruction within reach of the poor man who aspires to 
culture, still more must it be simple justice to bring to every 
home that degree of instruction which is needed for the better 
fulfilment of a great duty. Hence I cannot doubt that as 
society awakens to the importance of the universal educating 
power of mothers, means will be found to spread universally 
that simple knowledge of first principles, which will rescue 
infancy from a very large portion, at least, of the ignorant 
treatment that now stunts, when it does not distort, the normal 
growth of mind and body. We see various subjects taken 
up for adult instruction among women, not one of which 
approaches in importance this one, or is so likely to kindle 
interest and rouse native power in the hearers. We have 

ri2 Wasted Forces. 

cooking classes and sanitary lectures and mothers' meetings, 
&c. Why should not the education of little children be the 
subject of instruction given in the same manner — ^given widely, 
frequently and earnestly, by women who have themselves had 
every opportimity of acquiring the knowledge they would 
impart And let us remember that such instruction will be 
greatly helped by the appeal it makes to the strongest feelings 
of the woman's heart, however rough or uncultivated she may 
be. When a few real disciples are won from among the many, 
they will in their turn become apostles. Each reformed home 
will become a centre of good example, until gradually, however 
slowly, a new sense of duty is created ; and public opinion, 
become more enlightened, will find the means of continuing 
with greater facilities, the work set on foot by the zeal of a few. 
Since the foregoing pages were written, a great controversy 
has been going on concerning the pressure put upon children 
by modem school-teaching, in which, doubtless, many present 
have taken a keen interest. It would be out of place here to 
enter into the details of that controversy ; I only wish to point 
out, how largely it all ultimately turns upon the serious defi- 
ciency I have dwelt upon this evening — upon the ignorance of 
mothers with regard to education. If mothers were penetrated 
with the truth that they must educate their children themselves, 
whoever else may assist them, whether in giving instruction or 
in any other way, these disputes would not arise or would be 
quickly settled. Children would go to school with due mental 
preparation. If sent to a day-school they would remain under 
the same watchful maternal care for the far larger portion of 
their lives still spent at home. The twenty hours a week, or 
thereabouts, spent under the school tuition, would not be 
supposed to exonerate from responsibility the parents who 
control the remaining 148 hours; but the responsibility 
would be discharged with knowledge of what it involves, and 
knowledge of each individual child, and the mother would be 

Wasted Forces. 1 13 

capable of consulting intelligently with the school-teacher, and 
of laying down a scheme of home life and study which should 
co-operate with, instead of thwarting the school scheme. 
Naturally, mistakes would still occur on both sides, but we 
should never see the misconception, the antagonism, the 
divided, often contrary influence, the early neglect and the 
impatient ambitions that thwart the work of the best schools 
now. The least we should expect of mothers who had some 
knowledge, however slight, of education, would be that if, for 
any reason, they wish to be rid of the charge of their children, 
they should send them to boarding, and not to day-schools, 
since the chief advantage and merit of the latter is that they 
still leave the greater part of the child's life under parental 
management and influence. 

I would not, however, close these remarks without saying a 
few words in extenuation of what may appear to some very 
severe and undeserved strictures upon mothers generall)^, whose 
earnest desire to do their duty I never doubt, even when, in 
my opinion, they fall most sadly short of it. There is nothing 
strange in the fact that women have neglected to study educa- 
tion, or at least to study it on scientific grounds, and nothing 
for which, in the past, they could be held seriously to blame. 
Their neglect was that of the nation at large. Education has 
never, till of late years, held its rightful place in this country. 
The subject has been simply a practical one, to be solved by 
putting children under tuition for a certain number of years, in 
order that they might acquire such knowledge as might be 
wanted for use, or show, according to the station in life they 
were to occupy. Moral training was always, thank God, more 
seriously thought of; but rather as a part of religion than of 
-education. Women themselves were denied all serious cul- 
ture, and the very fact that the training of young children is 
necessarily women's work, was sufficient to class it as trivial 
work. Women being unused to study and reflection, naturally 


114 Wasted Forces. 

acquiesced in the opinions prevailing around — and this state of 
things must be vety slow to change among the majority, 
immense as the improvement has been among the few. It 
is a slow and painful process, as we too well know, for an 
individual to repent and amend ; it is yet more difficult and 
laborious for a nation ; what then must it be when half the 
human race, fettered in its development by the errors of the 
other half and its own, awakes from its mental torpor to 
recognize the neglected duties, the slighted responsibilities, 
which have been so many snares to themselves, and so many 
occasions of evil and mischief to others ? Very slowly can 
those who have inherited this burden come to the full con- 
sciousness of what it is now incumbent upon them to do ; and 
very slowly will the great number grope their way towards 
doing it. It is well to remember this when we seem to blame 
J>ersons, and are rather blaming the conditions under which they 
have grown up and lived. 

It would be impossible to estimate what society has suffered 
from neglecting, nay, stifling the educating powers of women ; 
and if ever real civilization is to be attained, if ever we are to 
see more than a nominal Christianity triumph, if the moral 
force of humanity is ever to be drawn out fully and har- 
moniously with the intellectual force and spirit to predominate 
over matter, it must be, in large measure, by the rightful 
influence of women, created mostly through education, and 
thus permeating society through all the channels of private 
life, creating associations, forming habits, moulding social 
opinion. Such is the power ^hich nature placed women in ^ 
position to exercise through their sway over men's best affec- 
tions, their social influence, the greater moral purity and 
refinement which tends to keep the higher spiritual interests 
predominant over the lower material, the imaginative over the 
calculating, the imselfish over the narrow utilitarian ; and lastly, 
and once again, through their unlimited power over early 

Wasted Foras. 1 1 5 

childhood, by which they can instil and perpetuate the best 
habits and associations of their own lives. Such, I repeat, is 
the sway which nature gave women to exercise, and of which, 
through ignorance, through the faults bom of a depressed 
condition, they have been careless, while too often seeking 
compensation for their outward dependence by the easy sway 
over men's passions and vanity. 

But now, we trust, the time is come when they will rouse 
themselves to nobler aims. The cry for education soimds 
through every nation, and Government after Government takes 
it up, and laws are passed, and schools built and teachers 
appointed ; yet, as I said before, even in those countries where 
this has gone on longest, we find but small results on the 
character of the people. And why ? because instruction has 
been common and education very rare ; because women, with 
whom the strongest educating power rests, have been inert 
Now, let women once be fired with the noble ambition of 
fulfilling in its highest sense the mission Heaven has laid upon 
them, and the dawn of a better ^a may, at length, be seen. 

I ? 


By Emily Shirreff. 

It has seemed to me that on the occasion of this third 
annual meeting of our Society, I could not choose a more im- 
portant question to dwell upon than that of the relation of the 
Kinder-Garten to schools, — ^in other words, of this peculiar form 
of infant training to the system of instruction which will 
fashion the next periods of childhood and early youth. How 
will the one affect, or be affected, by the other ? This is the 
question on which the wide acceptance of Froebel's method 
must ultimately hang. Could it be shown that after education 
will be hindered or in any way rendered more difficult by it, 
clearly all efforts to introduce it must stop. Could it be sup- 
posed to be a matter of indifference — neither to make, nor 
mar, the after-work of school — ^then it would remain a matter of 
mere choice or fancy for individual parents to decide as they like; 
but if it can be shown that all the work of the Kinder-Garten 
is laying a more solid foundation, or tracing more direct paths 
for the workers of a later period, then it behoves us to give a 
hearty national welcome to this foreign system, and to work it 
with zealous good will. And this is the conviction with which 
I speak to you to-night, the conviction on which our society is 

Tlu Kindergarten in Relation to Schools. 117 

founded. As we hope that there are many strangers among us 
this evening, it would be very desirable to give some slight sketch 
of FroebeFs system ; but in a paper such as this, without the 
means of demonstration and with much other matter pressing, 
it is scarcely possible, and I can only touch briefly on the 
chief characteristics of his method. 

Froebel is perhaps over-rated by a few, but he is sadly under- 
rated by the great majority even of those who make education 
their business ; — ^if they made it their study it might be other- 
wise. This misconception of FroebeFs work comes partly 
from ignorance of his life, of the history of his labour to estab- 
lish the principles he adopted in his youth, and to which in 
his old age he gave partial expression in the Kinder-Garten. 
It was the whole scope of education, the whole training of man 
to do his duty in a loving spirit to God and man, that occupied 
all the best years of his life. The title of his book, " The 
Education of Mankind," itself shows how wide was its pur- 
pose. But men w^rejtoo^eager for knowledge to attend to the 
culture of thejiuman being ; and everywhere instruction over- 
laid education. Thus the conviction was forced upon himj 
th at the real groundwork must be laid be fore s chool instruc- 
tionT)egins. All thoughtful writers on education had felt this 
to a certain degree. We find the principles laid down with 
more or less distinctness in writings of different epochs, and 
Pestalozzi made it the foundation of his system. He appealed 
to mothers as Froebel did after him to women generally ; but 
his system was imperfect Froe bel w as the first to bring a wide 
study of human nature to bedr upon infant life, and to re- 
duce to" system the observations thus made. His leading 
principle is that with a view to full harmonious development 
the child must be allowed to grow fireely according to the laws 
of his nature — physical, moral, and intellectual Growth in 
one direction must not be„dlpwed to hinder or supersede 
growth in another. All the faculties are necessary for perfect 

Ii8 The Kindergarten 

life, and Froebel watched children closely to ascertain the 
order of development indicated by instinctive tendencies. 
j The intellectual faculties are first awakened by the child's 
surroundings ; light and bright objects attract it even in the 
cradle ; when it can run it manifests ceaseless curiosity about 
all it can see or touch, and expresses that curiosity as soon as 
it can speak, — ^the pleasure children take in all this is evident 
to every one, but it requires an observer to note how mental 
activity forms an element in that pleasure. We are accustomed 
to give that name only to the conscious labour of riper years, 
and we often overlook the fact that the very same faculties that 
must do the work of those years are beginning to unfold ere 
the child can freely speak or run about. Froebel knew that it 
, was so, and felt that from that time also began the possibility 
' of giving a right or a wrong bent to those faculties, of aiding or 
i thwarting their action. " The purpose of education," says 
Mme. Marenholtz von Bulow, " is to aid natural development 
in all its fulness. Since, then, development begins with the first 
breath, so also does education begin then." How this may be 
done has been minutely laid down by Froebel in his advice to 
mothers, and the Kinder-Garten is the practical exposition of 
his principles as regards children from three to seven years of 
age. I can only allude to a few points. For instanpe^ child 
will exerciseJbii§_Qbs_eryation upon everything around him, but 
we can place within his reach the^object we wish him to ob- 
serve. He will after a time reason after his own fashion ; it is 
ours to lead him to find the right conclusions. He will be\ 
ceaselessly curious, and his curiosity is too often repressed or 
foolishly answered; Froe bel knew_ that such curiosity is the root/ 
of love of knowledge, and on it he builds to make instruction 
a delight. 

The moral side of the child's nature awakens later than the 
physical aniTntellectual, and its growth is too often blunted 
by over-indulgence, or by rewards and punishments ; Froebel 

/;/ Relation to Schools, 119 

felt that it will expand only in an atmosphere of love, and the 
two great instruments of all education, habit and association, 
must be used even fixjm the cradle to prepare the way for the 
exercise of will and conscience at a later day. 

Physical activity, which first manifests itself in the pleasure 
the infant takes in moving its limbs, becomes play with the 
growing child, and as physical exercise play is generally much 
and rightly valued ; but the mental activity drawn out in play, 
and forming a great part of true delight, is too commonly 
overlooked. Froebel reco^ized and saw character, imagina- 
tion — the first dawning of the creative faculty — manifested in 
play. Having thus observed all the child's natural tendencies, 
he devised a system by means of which they should be 
healthily developed — and the system is Kinder-Garten training. 

The principles, then, on which Froebel built his system may 
be summed up briefly under four heads : — ist — ^AU the facul- 
ties of the child, mental and bodily, are to be severally 
drawn out and exercised as far as age allows. 2nd. — The 
powers of habit and association— which are the great instru- 
ments of all education — of the whole training of life must be 
brought to bear firom the earliest dawn of intelligence, with a 
systematic purpose. 3rd. — The active instincts of childhood 
are to be cultivated throu^i uianual, no less than through 
mental work, and such manual exercise made an essential part 
of the training. 4th. — ^The senses are to be trained to accuracy 
as well as the hand. The children must learn how to observe 
what is placed before them, and to see it truly, an acquirement 
which any teacher of science or of drawing will appreciate. 
To work out these principles Froebel devised his practical 
method of infant education, and the very name he gave to the 
place where his play lessons were to be given marks his 
purpose. We have adopted that foreign name ; let us, then, 
see what it means. 

A Kinder-Garten — ^not a child's garden in ordinary sense^ 

120 The Kindergarten 

although such gardens form an important adjunct, but a garden 
of children — ^as we might say a garden of roses — z. place of 
culture for th at most w onderful thing that lives and grows 
upon our earth, the iufaot-hiuyian being, and we feel at once 
how appropriate is that name, when we remember Froebel's 
views of education. We find the same kind of analogy of 
thought, though in the inverse order, in our term of a " nur- 
sery garden,^' a piece of ground where young plants are tended, 
as are children in the nursery, while the Kinder-Garten is the 
spot where children can expand and grow and enjoy life, as. 
plants do in a garden. In the s chool children are taught, they 
are recipients of knowledgeTTroebel consid^35. them simply 
as being endowed with faculties of many kinds ' that must 
develop freely according to their nature, that must not be 
urged in this direction, or cramped in another, but be placed 
in the most favourable circumstances to attain their full growth 
according to the laws impressed on them by the Creator, as do 
the plants in the soil and climate that suits them. 

No books are to be seen in a Kinder-Garten, because no 
ideas or facts are presented to the child that he cannot clearly 
understand and verify. The object is not to teach him arith- 
metic or geometry, though he learns enough of both to be very 
useful hereafter, but to lead him to discover facts and truths 
concerning numbers and lines and angles for himself. Thus 
in the play lessons with little wooden cubes and other figures, 
the teacher simply rules the order in which he shall approach 
a new thing, and gives him the correct names, which hence- 
forth he must always use ; but the observation of resemblances 
and differences (that groundwork of all knowledge), the 
reasoning from one point to another, and the conclusion he 
arrives at are all his own — he is only made to see his mistake 
if he makes one. Ordinary object lessons, such as Pestalozzi 
gave, and such as our infant schools give them, appeal to 
vision only to help the understanding ; in the Kinder-Garten 


In Relation to Schools. 121 

the child h andles ev ery object from which he is taught, and 
must learn to reproduce it If a thing is drawn for him, or 
built for him, with his little bricks, he forthwith builds or draws 
the same for himself; his hand no le ss tha n his eye is exercised 
in many ways to delicate a nd accurate work, and the instinct 
of activity is thus satisfied. This simultaneous training of the 
senses and h ands toget her with the mental faculties, is one 
striking charac teristic of Froebel's system ; and throughout 
the long series of occupations, drawing, paper-folding, plait- 
ing, etc., this is systematically exercised. What can be thus 
obtained of accuracy and deftness of handling, may best be 
seen in the modelling which little creatures of five years old 
produce. Another charactCTistic_ofJj:ogbers__s^^ is the 
value for play and its ada ptation to purposes of education. 
Through it the child^s natural activity is brought into full 
healthy exercise, while it is so directed that the games accom- 
panied by singing stir the imagination and cultivate all the 
moral qualities which we value so highly later on the school 
playground, habits of acting together, of bearing and forbear- 
ing, of good-humour under failure, eta ; and the words of the 
song keep up the interest in human actions, and in forms and 
changes of nature that the child has witnessed. Kjhird and 
yet more important characteristic is the observation and love 
of nature. Before coming to books a child's curiosity must 
be satisfied about outer objects, and thus gradually transformed 
into intelligent interest and desire for knowledge. Not till this 
part of education is brought into a certain state of forwardness 
did Froebel consider that children should be allowed to read 
and write and thus approach the ordinary avenues to 
knowledge. To live with books and be ignorant of nature, of 
the facts and laws in the midst of which God has placed our 
lives, was to Froebel no less senseless and irreligious. 

He taught no catechism to little children, but he would have 
them learn to worship God through nature^ to love Him as the 

122 The Kindergarten 

Father of whose love and government their earthly paients 
present the intelligible type. The key-note of FroebeFs sys- 
tem may be said to be that we live and move and have our 
being in God, whose^^sible_m^jifestation is the universe 
on which He has impressed His laws, which He has en- 
dowed us with faculties to decipher and obey. Thus to 
Him we are responsible that the children He has (rusted to 
our care shall be trained into fitness so to obey and under- 
stand His will. It is, as serving religion, no less than as 
developing the creative faculty, that Fr oebel lay s great stress 
on the culti vation of t he imagination, which is so deadened 
by ordinary teaching. He felt how much we need to kindle 
early that sacred spark which illumines life with beauty, which 
lights the flame on every altar where man sacrifices his baser 
instincts to lofty ideals — gain to patriotism — self to humanity 
— the world to God. The chM^_wllQia a soul has thus 
been awakened brings to the^uUroutine of school an impulse 
that will give life to that routine itself. It will take years of / 
bad teaching and bad management to make such a child lose I 
the feeling that his life is something beyond school lessons or) 
school play, that it is in what he does and in what he loves. 

The one real difiiculty to overcome with Kinder-Garten 
children is that of passing fi:om objfictdesjons-to-bQ^-lessons ; 
but if this transition be made imder the guidance of Kinder- 
Garten teachers, it is accomplished without trouble or annoy- 
ance to the little ones. In the prep^atory ox transition class ^ 
as it is usually called, in which this change is efiected, the 
children learn to read and write and to work sums with figures, 
and thus when they go to school at eight years old they know 
all that is expected at that age, and much besides that othars 
do not know. 

Nothing illustrates the benefit of the early development of 
intelligence in the children, while all their lessons have been 
play, than the facility with which this work of the transition 

In Relation to Schools. 123 

classes is effected A child's difficulty in learning to read is 
that he has no skill in perceiving the different forms of 
letters, and no habit of attaching one correct name to the 
form he recognizes — ^his eye and ear are equally unexercised ; 
but the child trained in the Kinder-Garten has exercised both 
in a great variety of wajrs, and he distinguishes the forms of 
the letters very rapidly. So with writing, we have first that 
same difficulty of seeing correctly, and the next great difficulty 
of the unpractised hand, at once feeble and dumsy, that can- 
not trace the given line even when the child has been brought 
to see its fcMm and direction Now in the Kinder-Garten the 
little hands have been daily exercised, not only in drawing 
lines in various directions, but in delicate and accurate work. 
The children have learned to perceive when they have 
worked correctly, or incorrectly ; thus writing becomes a com- 
paratively easy application of an art already acquired. As re- 
gards such arithmetic as children are expected to learn at that 
age, the only difficulty for the Kinder-Garten pupil will be the 
method of working a simple sum on the slate ; he is used to 
deal with numbers, both with units and fractions, and he is 
quite familiar in a practical way with some elementary notions 
of geometry. He has also been interested with stories from 
history, and he knows something of that foundation of phy- 
sical geography that may be made so interesting to children, 
that may be taught practically in a field or by a roadside, or 
in a class-room, wherever we can find or make inequalities of 
soil, and show how water runs in one direction instead of 
another. As regards elementary knowledge, then, he will be 
quite on a par with other children, and, owing to the method 
pursued, he will possess it better. Thus we may be sure that 
as soon as the mechanical difficulties of reading are over- 
come he will at once read intelligently^ because he will feel an 
interest in what he can understand, and will know when he 
does not understand ; and his wish to learn more will spring 

124 The Kindergarten 

from recollections of the pleasure he has had in learning 

I have said what are the leading characteristics of FroebeFs 
system, and it follows from thence that it is mainly^jiistin- 
guished from ordinary school teaching b y mak ing the know- 
i^Hpr^ rtf iHpyjg win> upon the knowledge of fiacts, and by 
making the cul tivation of the memory subordinate to the de- 
velopment o f tEe fa c i( | |in i^f fflinrrynliffn und rmtnniii f'i and 
of the active tendencies of th^ ^hij^^, \i(^\\\ physiral and mental 
This mental disciplined, of course, part of the purpose of 
all school teaching ; but Froebel learnt by his own experience 
as a schoolmaster, and we may see it verified every day, that 
the press of matter to be taught leaves scanty time for this 
gradual development of human faculty, even if at school age 
many a wrong habit and bias had not aheady been given. 
Thus to rescue early childhood from such errors and to guide 
the development aright from the j&rst, was, he felt, the only 
means by which we might ensure that after school-work should 
/bear its "proper fruit If we doubt the need of such prepa- 
I ration let us consider for a moment what is the ordinary con- 
dition of a child going to school at eight or nine years old. 

It naturally differs very much in different classes of society. 
In the upper ranks, where mothers have leisure, and ought to 
have cultivation — where attendance is abundant, and may be 
good, children ought to come well prepared with the elements 
of such knowledge as the school demands — treading, writing, 
some arithmetic, and. perhaps a little geography and English 
history. In the working classes, where children go through 
the infant school, they ^o come in some measure prepared, 
they have learnt order and obedience, which too many careful 
homes neglect to teach. But between these two extremes we 
have the large middle class, through its great variety of de- 
grees, in which mothers are more or less occupied, where 
servants of an inferior kind are employed^ and where generally, 

In Relation to Schools. 125 

at least, the most that can be done is to keep children out of 
positive mischief. In what state of forwardness children from 
such homes come to school, not merely at eight years old but 
at ten, or for girls even at twelve and fourteen, let those who 
are practically engaged in school-work declare. But if these 
children had spent four or five years in the Kinder-Garten and 
the transition class, they would not only bring, as we have 
seen above, those elements of knowledge that are required, 
but have learnt in some degree how to learn^ and in the 
measure of their progress have nothing to unlearn. Let those 
who labour day by day with inert minds, never yet awakened 
to a wish for knowledge, or a sense of beauty, or a feeling of 
pleasure in mental activity, tell us how much valuable school 
time they would save if the raw material were thus prepared 
to their hand. And this element of time is one that must 
seriously be taken into consideration with schools of every 
grade. This, it is that cramps the best teacher's efforts and 
grinds down admirable theories of education to indifferent 
schemes of instruction. 

It seems a long time from seven to seventeen, but modem 
life demands much, and its demands force the work of instruc- 
tion into grooves it is difficult to abandon. The University, or 
professional exigencies, govern schools. Upper schools govern 
both the lower and the preparatory; andjhus each step pre- 
pares for ajiigher step q£ knowledge, and the only thing that 
is not prepared for is life itself, making its thousand calls upon 
will and character which we have allowed chance influences to 
form ; life which calls for all active energies, and of which, as 
Matthew Arnold so truly says, " Conduct makes up three 
parts, and knowledge only one." And the intellectual qualities 
tliat affect conduct, judgment, accuracy — that power of reason- 
ing promptly and correctly concerning things we habitually 
deal with, which we call common sense, — these are the direct 
fruits, not of varied knowledge but of the mental discipline 

1 26 TJu Kindergarten 

which should accompany the acquisition of knowledge. Un- 
fortunately, the pressure of the modem demand for knowledge 
and instruction overpowers education, and will continue to do 
so, unless we can counteract this deteriorating influence by 
using for true educational purposes those early years that are 
free from outer claims ; thus making the child by the time he 
goes to school amenable to the higher discipline of good 

But hitherto we have considered the case of children of the 
upper and middle classes only: it is time to turn to the 
children of the poor, for whom every motive that makes 
Kinder-Garten training a valuable preparation for schools is 
strengthened tenfold. The boy who is to go through a great 
public school to the University sorely needs time, as we have 
seen above, to acquire the indispensable amount of instruction 
without neglecting education ; but he has a grand life before 
him if he knows how to use it — ^leisure — ^means of knowledge, 
stimulants to ambition which might almost suffice alone to 
rescue men from selfish sloth ; he has time, if he learn how to 
use it, to repair the omissions of the past, as far as the laws of 
nature will ever allow the past to be repaired. Others, again, 
who go through our grammar and middle-class schools into 
the world of commonplace business will find in a life of in- 
creasing labour a remedy at least to the mental inertness that 
follows ordinary school teaching. They also have opportuni- 
ties of knowledge — a variety of interests that may serve to 
keep the soul alive amid the deadening influence of ceaseless 
money-making labour ; but when we look to the children of 
the poor we know that their school life is their all of educa- 
tion, except such as life itself gives to every human being 
accor4ing to the influences domestic, social, or political under 
which he lives, and that this practical education for them can 
scarcely be an elevating one. What we have then to do is, in 
those scanty years that poverty can grant to school discipline, 

In Relation to Schools, 127 

to make that discipline such that the child shall be fit to learji 
the lesson of life in a right spirit. Instruction gives him 
possession of the most indispensable keys to knowledge — it is 
hard enough often to do that ; but education of a higher order 
will alone give him the wish to i|se those keys, and teach 
him to feel that he cannot live upon bread alone, however 
large a portion of his existence must be given merely to 
providing the bread. Intellectual life is a barren desert to 
the child who leaves school with such knowledge as an ele- 
mentary school can have taught under the given conditions, 
and whose intelligence has received no other training than 
such teaching can afford. There is barely time for what is 
imperatively laid down; how can the schoolmaster mould 
the dull, ill-trained children that come to him full of false 
ideas and wrong habits, into thinking, observing human 
beings, able to work and to think intelligently and accurately ? 
And yet if he has not done that, what have these schools done 
for the nation that pays for them ? There is in the rudiments 
of knowledge no taUsman for making good citizens; and 
though no one more fully appreciates than I do all that 
school does for children, of that class especially, independently 
of instruction, yet I say if we cannot supplement the instruc- 
tion with such mental discipline as shall teach them how to 
use the knowledge, and create a desire to do so, then we are 
not educating the people. Nor am I alluding here to the 
desire to use knowledge which springs from the wish to rise 
in the world — that motive is put forward too often and too 
strongly to need any help of mine — rather would I see it less 
powerful ; what I mean byusing the knowledge acquired at 
school, is that use whereby JJlfeLJsL.made a better and nobler 
thing, whereby the face of the jearJhJsJieautified through all 
we know of the many forms of life that speak of God and His 
laws all around us, whereby a man does whatever he has to do 
more intelligently, and fulfils every duty with a better under- 

128 The Kindergarten 

standing. It is this influence of such poor culture as we can 
give which alone can entitle us to say that our schools are 
educating another generation to do good service to the 
nation, and how, I ask again, can time be found for such 
careful mental discipline added to the hard labour of teaching? 
But if FroebeFs system prevailed in our infant schools, then 
we might hope that school teaching beginning upon such a 
foundation of mental discipline as that system affords, and 
with the help of the progress already made in certain branches 
of instruction — the years from seven to eleven or twelve 
would produce fruits which at present the most zealous 
master or mistress cannot dare to hope for. And if the 
children through stress of poverty leave school very early, 
they will yet take with them some inefiaceable good. It is easy 
to forget reading and writing through years of disuse, it is 
not easy to for ggt th euse of our eyes when we have learnt to 
take pleasu re in i)bs erving, nor the babit-.of judging, of 
reasoning upon what pomes before us, when on^ the mind 
has been stirred to take pleasure in the exercise. It ;nust be 
remembered that the development of moral and intellectual 
fciculties is a^jiatural, as much a part of the laws of oiu* being, 
as physical^ deyelppioent, the only difference being that it 
carries with it conscious action, and therefore the possibility of 
being mentally influenced for good or evil ; thus the degree 
of such development that the child has attained under our 
guidance at a certain age has a far more permanent character 
than the degree of his knowledge. The latterjs-giyen from 
I without, the former is his own growth, an intrinsic part hence- 
forth of his being, ^Mid therelbre it is that I say the child 
trained in the Kinder-Garten will keep what he has gained, 
while the mere school-taught child may lose all he has pain- 
fully acquired before he reaches manhood. 

Differences of knowledge must exist between different classes 
of men, like differences of material means, the one in a great 

In Relation to Schools. 129 

measure owing to the other. The poor cannot be said to be 
disinherited of wealth, because wealth is not a natural posses- 
sion, nor one that ever can belong to alL But those are 
indeed the disinherited of the earth who are deprived of what 
natiu"e designed for them, whose true human capacity has not 
been unfolded. The poor man suffers privation from deficient 
knowledge as from deficient comfort; but he suffers wrong 
when his education is so defective that he cannot use his 
human faculties aright, when his senses are blunted, his 
observation and judgment insecure — his moral sense and 
activity uncultivated. And it is this disinheriting of our poorer 
brethren that we may avoid bj an early methodical training 
such as Froebel has taught us. 

We owe, then, no small debf of gratitude to the London 
School Board for their effort to uy this great experiment, and 
I trust that Sir Charles Reed, who has so kindly consented to 
take the chair this evening, wilk tell us something of his views 
of the subject and the prospect of success he sees before him. 
Full success can be expected only when all infant school 
mistresses are duly trained for Kinder-Garten work. They 
may then be trusted to introduce such modifications as the 
large numbers in our infant schools may render necessary. 

I ought, I fear, to apologize for the length of time I have 
detained you ; yet I must touch upon one other point, which I 
consider of the highest importance, and this is the advantage 
of FroebeFs system to all that portion of our population who 
are engaged in industrial pursuits. When boys or girls leave 
school to be apprenticed to some trade they go to their new 
work with hands and eyes absolutely uncultivated ; the girls 
have, perhaps, done some needlework, and are so far in a 
better condition than -the boys ; the occupation of the latter 
since leaving school has probably been of the roughest descrip- 
tion, or has not required any peculiar manipulation — as in the 
case of messengers, etc. When, therefore, they come to learn 


J 30 The Kindergarten 

a trade they begin with clumsy fingers, with that untrue habit 
nf vision, if I may so express myself, which belongs to those 
who have never learned the difference between ax:curate and 
inaccurate impressions, and all these preliminary disadvantages 
have to be got over before the smallest jHX)gress can be made 
in the technical part of whatever new work they have to learn. 
Now if we suppose these childr«i to have been first trained in 
the Kinder-Garten, taught there to observe resemblances and 
differences of forms and colours, and directions of lines, to 
reproduce accurately what they have observed accuratdy, to 
have acquired a certain sureness and delicacy of handling, 
which would be further cultivated by drawir^ at school — then 
these boys and girls would enter any indi^trial apprenticeship 
or any technical school in a very different condition. They 
would be at once able to grapple with ordinary difficulties 
instead of beginning the education of their hands and senses, 
and would i^ consequence reach much sooner the degree of 
proficiency that ensures payment for work. The moment of 
beginning to receive wages would be hastened in proportion 
to the time saved from that preliminary preparation which is 
in fact not technical learning at all, but part of the indis- 
pensable training of the human being apart from any peculiar 
purpose. When mental discq)line generally is neglected in 
childhood it is with someTa^ a§suinptu n that schooLstudies 
will su]2gly it ; but this combined mental and physical training 
we generally ignore altogether. Yet when we withhold that 
cultivation of the "senses* and of manual dexterity we are not 
merely heaping difficulties in the way of a few who must later 
acquire what we do not teach them early, but we maim 
children generally in the use of some of the most important 
faculties, we rob them of what nature designed for them, we 
venture to choose what part of their natural gifts it suits us to 
put them in possession of; in their helpless ignorance we have 
not honestly done our part as guardians, for we have buried in 

In Relation to Schools^ t'^X 

a napkin the talents for which they will have to tender acemmt 
We might find instances ta illastrate the loss so incurred in 
every department of industrial and art labour, just as we 
might have traced in a variety of directions what I have barely 
indicated of the loss so incurred by children of the leisure 
classes ; but it is impossible in one lecture to treat so large a 
subject in anything but the most cursory manner, and I can 
only hope that I have said enough to establish my main pro- 
position, that the Kinder^Gar ten is the right and true vestibule 
of the schaoLjtbaLiLprepares^ the_child for all it is to learn 
there, and provides the groundwork for the full cultivation* and 
discipline of all the faculties which school ^^^ t present consti- 
tuted, having to labour against the neglected condition of the 
children who enter, cannot have time to undertake. 

Education, which is the pr eparation for life, must b e one in 
purpose and in spirit throughout allits phases. Koebel built 
altogether upon this truth, and therefore begins firom the first 
what each successive step is ^unfo^d _an d stxeng^ en. When, 
therefore, we ask if the Kinder-Garten affects school life — if it 
furthers its work, it is questioning whether Froebel did or did 
not adjust the means to the end, whether his method is educa- 
tion at all, or only a way of amusing and exercising little 
children. If the latter only, it may have an importance of its 
own, but not the importance we claim for it. Now if we once 
admit its true human purpose as far as it goes, if we acknow- 
ledge that the faculties whose dawning power he watches and 
draws out, are the same faculties which in their ripe vigour the 
philosopher, the poet, the statesman, use for the benefit of 
mankind ; if the will and character he teaches us to .discipline 
in the nursery are acknowledged to be germs of the same 
powers that make useful citizens, social benefactors, the leaders 
and heroes of our race, then school years, which are only one 
stage of that unbroken process of effort and discipline, which 
■ we call life, cannot stand isolated. Those who rule them 

K 2 

132 The Kindergarten in Relation to Schools. 

cannot neglect or ignore what has gone before any more than 
they can be indifferent to the claims of the years that are to 
follow. Shakespeare says of man that " He looks before and 
after," and this is more specially true of the educator than of 
any other human being save the statesman. 


By Emily Shirreff." 

The last time I had the pleasure of addressing you, my theme 
was the Kinder-Garten in relation to schools; to-night I move 
a stage further back in the consideration of the system, and 
wish to dwell on the Kinder-Garten in relation to family life. 
The other was most important to be brought forward, to be 
pressed forward even, in the interest of our outward worL 
The Kinder-Garden, as I have said, will not be valued, its 
peculiar mode of training will not be estimated properly in 
the scholastic profession till men have realized what benefit 
scholars will derive from their pupils being prepared for them 
in the Kinder-Garten. But our subject to-day is a wider and 
more important one stilL School is but an episode of life, 
Home is the centre, the pivot of life itself. That nation is at 
a great disadvantage that has not good schools, but that nation 
is poor to the roots that has not a healthy home life. When, 
therefore, we speak of a thing as true and good — of such 
things, I mean, as affect the conduct of life — ^it is well to see 
what relation it bears to the holiest portion of life — that of the 
family. There virtue or vice, strength or weakness, duty or 
self-indulgence, love or selfishness, must do their fullest work ; 
there human life may be made most wretched, or may be 

134 ^^^ Kindergarten 

blessed as though a ray of Heaven's own light shone upon its 
homeliest details. Into this life, under one or other of its 
manifold forms, each human being is bom, and here all that 
is good or all that is bad around him, must necessarily begin 
his education years before that of school begins. Our busi- 
ness to-night is to inquire what Probers system can do to help 
the good, to avert the evil, to direct the strong impulses which 
parental love creates but cannot enlighten. The first effect of 
its influence is to raise our estimate of the early helpless years 
of human life, to make us see in them not a mere period 
of physical growth, but the seed-time of all that cultivation 
and discipline may bring to a rich harvest in after years. 

In ordinary apprehension education is associated with 
lessons ; even in well kept nurseries, where a most valuable 
education is actually begun, it is not called by that name, it is 
not considered as simply the beginning of the same work that 
will be continued through childhood and youth, and therefore 
no method rules it, no distinct purpose is kept in view. Were 
it once so considered it would rise in importance, it would no 
longer be left to nurses, but would become the mother's first 
care, it would no longer be left to mothers alone, but would 
grow in importance with fathers also. They have been accus* 
tomed when they thought of the education of their children 
to look forward to a more or less distant time, to consider the 
school they would choose, the subjects— classical or modern^— 
they would have them instructed in, &c. ; but of that first growth 
of habits and associations, of notions and capabilities which 
springs up in the early home years, and will be carried by the 
child to school, to afifect his whole career there, the father has 
seldom thought at all, and this is what acquaintance with 
Frobel's system will make him think of; one of thegreatest bene- 
fits that system can confer upon us is this, of turning the serious 
attention of parents to the importance of that early training, 
and through it to a new sense of their own responsibility, since 

In Relation to Family Life. 135 

with them alone it must rest The evfl that I pointed out in 
speaking of the relation of the* Kinder-Garten to schools is 
the evil of instructing children instead of drawing out their 
faculties, of dealing with abstractions, while the interest of th6 
young mind can only be awakened by external objects ; the 
evil that is laid bare, as we consider the Kinder-Garten in re- 
lation to family life, is the neglect of eairly training owing to 
ignorance on the part of parents. In the case of schools, 
therefore, we hope the Frobel system will lead the way to a 
vast reform in our methods of education ; in the case of home 
life we trust that it will awaken women to a true sense of theit 
most important duty, that it will make them realize that, for 
good or for ill, and consciously or unconsciously, every mother 
necessarily educates her child from the first hour of dawning 
intelligence, and that while other teachers have simply made 
choice of a vocation, they have no choice left, but are educa- 
tors by right divine. There perhaps never was a time when 
children held so large a place in home life as they do now, 
and the sense of responsibility for their welfare, mental and 
physical, is gravely acknowledged ; but women have not yet 
realized that the right care for that welfare needs knowledge 
as well as love, and this is what the influence of Frobel's sys- 
tem will bring home to them. 

Let us now inquire what is the position of the Kinder- 
Garten among us at the present time, before we consider what 
it may become, and what influence it may exercise. It is making 
way undoubtedly, and has some true and ardent supporters ; 
but it -has many supporters for the sake of novelty. Fashion 
is even beginning to set in the same direction, and curiosity 
has been keenly excited in many places. But among all who 
visit it, of those who even send their children to it, how many, 
apart from the few mentioned above, take it au serieux, and 
not as a mere harmless way of keeping children quiet and 
amused, one expedient among many for evading the necessity 

136 The Kindergarten 

of discipline before schooltime ? This frivolous view of the 
Kinder-Garten is one of the -greatest obstacles our teachers 
now have to encounter ; the effects are everywhere visible ; 
classes are opened, competent teaching provided, and a fair 
number of children gathered together, but the foUowmg week 
perhaps half those children are kept away, and the classes 
necessarily thrown into confusion ; sometimes the treachery of 
our climate is really to blame ; but more often, I believe, it is 
mere fancy, mere ignorance that it is a thing of real import- 
ance that they are pla)ring with ; for, after all, in spite of the 
climate, there is no country in which children take such regular 
out-of-door exercise as in England, and if they can walk out 
at all, they might walk to the ELinder-Garten, and there they 
would get a great deal of healthy exercise without exposure to 
the weather, so that in truth there is less danger for children 
who spend the morning there than for those who depend for 
all their exercise on the daily walks. Another common 
obstacle I believe to be the jealousy of nurses. They do not 
like such a rival to their authority or to their affection. These 
women are as ignorant as the cottagers' wives, but far more 
mischievous, for the poor woman labouring for her family is 
glad of the relief of getting her children cared for, while the 
nurse only feels the loss of power and possibly of affection. 
In other ways the right influence of the Kinder-Garten may 
often be more thwarted among the rich than among the poor. 
The latter may by their ways and t^ieir ignorance unconsciously 
oppose the influence of school ; but they are generally im- 
pressed with the vast superiority of school teaching to any 
they could give, and they do not consciously oppose it; but 
with the upper classes this is quite diflierent ; if parents do not 
go entirely with the school, they express their diff*erent opinion, 
and display their indifference. Servants take the cue from 
them, and set up a jealous antagonism to the schoolroom 
authority. Thus the child's reverence for the instruction he 

In Relation to Family Life, 137 

receives is lessened, and the very fact of his realizing a divided 
opinion among those whom he ought to revere is so far de- 
structive of the educational value of the training. It is, then, 
in some important respects most difficult to establish the 
system in rich homes with nursery establishments where, un- 
less the mother gives the right tone, the prevailing influence 
round the child is a disastrous combination of luxury and 
Ignorance. It is there that caprice is most likely to reign, it 
is there that children are supposed often to need change of 
air, to be wanted for some visit, to be so loaded with toys and 
books, and surrounded with slaves to their pleasures, that the 
simple toys and amusements of the Kinder-Garten have less 
charm ; also, I am sorry to say, it is from such homes that chil- 
dren come occasionally to the Kinder-Garten with a degree of 
ill-breeding that speaks of a very low moral tone when at 
home ; children who are not only rebellious against authority, 
but haughty and insolent to their companions, and even to their 
teachers. What education is going on in homes where such 
things are possible, and what is to become of children whose 
mothers are to such a degree ignorant of education ? 

With regard to lower social classes, we have already pointed 
out one advantage possessed by the children of the poor; 
another is that they are obliged to attend school, and thus 
whenever the schools are good they are brought early under 
more promising educational conditions than those of their 
richer neighbours, unless among the latter the mothers are fit 
for their task. The Kinder-Garten will, as I have had occasion 
more than once to point out, open to them a prospect of im- 
provement that is undreamed of now, by adding the cultiva- 
tion of their faculties of mind and sense to the instruction 
they now receive. In this class the Kinder-Garten will gradu- 
ally exercise remarkable influence over family life, for when 
girls have been educated themselves in that system, and espe- 
cially if the time should come that I am so anxious to see^ 

138 The Kindergarten 

when every girl before leaving school is made to pass a certain 
time as a student-teacher in the Kinder-Garten department, 
every house in the country will receive the seeds of educa- 
tional principles, the wife of the labourer no less than the. 
peeress will understand God's command to her when He grants 
her the joy and privilege of motherhood, she will know that 
she has yet another duty to perform for her child beside the 
physical care which had seemed before to be the utmost she 
could compass. She may possess little knowledge or time to 
do much herself, but she will refrain from doing mischief, and 
will feel increased confidence in placing her child in better 
instructed hands. Again, the instruction given to the eldest 
child will fit the mother herself to do more for the next. Her 
own experience will be supplemented by what she has seen 
the elder gain from the greater knowledge and experience that 
have directed his training. 

But between the artizan's or labourer's home, where the 
temptation is neglect through ignorance, and the wealthy 
homes where the danger is corruption through luxury and 
servility, we have to consider the vast middle class in its in- 
numerable gradations. There we find the most varied forms 
of family life, and in all, the admittance of Frobel's system 
would bring improvement, while in aU some peculiar circum- 
stances present more or less obstacles to its admittance. 

In many the mother does the whole or nearly the whole of 
the house-work, and is more burdened than the labourer's wife, 
because she has to provide for the claims of gentility as well 
as for the more positive needs of life. She is too ignorant to 
care for the training of the Kinder-Garten, and cannot be 
troubled to take her children there. In many others the 
struggle is to have a little money over at the end of the year, 
since expense must be met for elder children, or for healthv 
exclusions, &c., so the expense of teaching babies, who mignt 
be crawling or toddling about the floor for another year or two^ 


In Relation to Family Life. 139 

•eems foolish extravagance. This fonn of objection is the most 
general, and in various degrees it prompts all the discontent 
about school fees, and the too common neglect of girls* edu- 
cation, because it can be neglected without apparent loss, 
while the boys cannot hope for employment unless they reach 
a given standard of instruction. There is too often truth — 
painful truth — in the objection, many a family can meet the 
expense of education only by a real sacrifice j but the feeling 
that is now growing that such sacrifice must be made if the 
worldly prospects of boys are not to be destroyed, will receive 
altc^ether fresh intensity and be extended to both sexes when- 
ever the spread of Frobel's principles shall have convinced 
parents that not instruction but education, training of the entire 
capabilities of the human creature, is the debt they owe to each 
child Then mothers will study education, and the fathers 
will feel the importance of providing the means for it 

Two of the greatest obstacles the Kinder-Garten has daily 
to encounter are — ist, the late age at which the children are 
sent ; 2nd, the monomania of parents with regard to reading 
and writing ; both these show ignorance of the right principle 
of education, and both would disappear if FrobeFs views of 
infent training were accepted. The expression, a late age, as 
applied to the children of six years old, sounds, perhaps, rather 
strange ; one might imagine a good deal of laughing at it ; but 
it is correct, nevertheless, as applied to Kinder-Garten pupils. 
In FrobeFs system the instruction, occupations, and games are 
all addressed to minds that have not been previously instructed 
in any other manner ; they aim at giving, in one sense, first 
impressions, the first that are purposely directed to fix attention 
and provoke an exercise of reasoning, and they are carefully 
graduated; each links on to the other, leading the infant in- 
telligence a little further at each step, but ever in the same 
direction, and with constant care not to break the sequence 01 
scatter the attention. The whole intention of tliis infant 

140 The Kindergarten 

training is to form habits and associations — moral, intellectual, 
and physical — ^at a time when there is nothing to hinder the 
direction we wish to give. Now, if children of six years old 
are sent into a Kinder-Garten, they come with their own 
stock of previously acquired notions and habits, and we have 
to undo as well as to train, and run the great risk of mischief 
to the younger children. Children of six know, or think they 
know, many of the things that their younger companions are 
learning ; but they have learned them differently, without order 
or system, without the links that in Frobel's system connect 
the knowledge and the skill acquired with the knowledge that 
is to come next in orderly sequence. If, then, parents have 
kept their children in the ordinary way till six years old, they 
had better do their best with them still in the same way, and 
not send them to get confused notions of a better system and 
help to confuse others. In many cases children are sent be- 
cause mothers think it very likely in some way to be a good 
thing for children who are getting beyond nursery management 
and are too young for school ; they will be kept in order for 
some hours of the day, and perhaps they will learn something 
— at any rate they are safe, and the nurses or mothers have 
more time for other work. It is hardly necessary to remark 
that when Frobel's system shall have been studied widely, and 
that parents know why the Kinder-Garten occupations and 
games may be expected to produce a good result, all such 
capricious playing with them will be at an end ; the parents 
will have educated themselves into a comprehension of the 
value of educational principles in dealing with their children. 
The other obstacle I have mentioned — ^the monomania 
about reading and writing — ^has partly the same origin. There 
is the same desire to teach the children something that will 
keep them quiet, and lead to their amusing themselves without 
trouble to their elders; and there is that same profound 
ignorance of educational principles that leads parents to 

In Relation to Family Life, 141 

believe that teaching to read is education. Doubtless, besides 
being the most important instrument for acquiring knowledge, 
it can also be made an instrument of mental training in the 
hands of an educator ; but in how many homes can this be 
said to be the case ? What more mechanical than the ordin- 
ary teaching to read and to write, and what less educational 
than the heaping of story-books round a child to let him 
amuse himself, that is, to pick up wrong notions, because he 
only half understands what he reads, to use words that convey 
no meaning, and adopt sentiments without a perception of 
what they imply. 

The mother's hurry to teach her children to read is often 
based on this wish to keep them quiet and amused, and often 
also on the feeling that her children must not lag behind other 
children j she would have a sense of shame if Jane or Harry 
next door could read to themselves while her own Jack or 
Mary were unable to do so. The father's impatience is 
generally of a different kind ; he knows that schools grow 
more and more exacting, that there is in this uncomfortable 
phase of the world's history a larger and larger quantity of 
knowledge to be acquired, and he cannot separate knowledge 
from books, nor the power of acquiring it from reading and 
writing. One father I have heard of who avows that he can 
take no interest in his boys till they begin the Latin grammar 
— where the limit of his interest in his girls, if he has any, 
may be placed, I do not know. If there be anything that 
the girls get rid of as rapidly after they leave school as boys 
shufi9e off the Latin on which eight years of life have been 
mainly spent, perhaps this father would take his Stand there. 
He worships a school fetish, and with that we cannot 

Now, if we could once get Frobel's System widely known, 
if the notion that the training and discipline of every human 
feculty from the earliest dawn of intelligence is the education 

142 The KindergarteK 

that must underlie aU other education, if this notion, I repeat^ 
could be received, all this would be at an end. Reading and 
writing, to say nothing of Latin gnumnar, would be reduced to 
their proper level as instruments of instruction, to be used 
when the mental and bodilf faculties are so devdoped that 
they can be used with advantage. If parents who suffer 
under this mania for early readmg could be persuaded to 
postpone the comparison of their children's acquirements 
with those of other children for twa years or so, and let those 
two years be spent in our transition classes,, we might perhaps 
make ready converts. It is quite right that care should be 
taken that children do not go to schod unfit to take their 
place in class with those of tiie same ages; let us then 
consider what a child going to school at nine years old can 
fairly be expected to know — reading, writing, spelling, a little 
French or Latin, as the case may be, the four ruks of 
arithmetic, some notion of Scripture hi^ory and geography, 
and the same with re^[>ect to our own country. If a child 
goes to school at nin^ knowing these things accurately, w« 
may, I think, safely affirm that he or s^e wilL be well placed in 
the school, and keep that ^ce. Now, any Kinda^Garten 
teacher will surely promise lliat a diild who has been kept 
strictly to Kinder-Garten work even till seven years old, and 
then passed on to the transition classes, will in two years 
attain such a degree of forwardness in school learmng, with- 
out the least pressure or difficulty. If we look closer at the 
work of those two years^ we shall see how this is effected. 
Writing is singularly easy to him ; of geography he has learnt 
something, and in a thorough manner; the working of figures 
is new, but arithmetic far beyond indiat is required is familiar 
to the child ; and though reading is a novel and difficult art, 
the Kinder-Garten exercises have given facility and accuracy 
in tracing resemblances and differences, £^id in recognising 
forms ; the child's memory is so trained to this, that letters 

In Relation to Family Life* 143 

and combinations of letters wfll quickly be discerned and 
remembered. Also we must remember that if he did not 
learn to read m the Kinder-Garten, he learnt to speak 
distinctly^ and to use accurate and well articulated words. He 
has a larger vocabulary than other children, because his atten* 
tiott has been turned to mwe things. Thus the actual school 
learning required by the age of nine will be of easy acquire- 
ment ; but in addition to this, he wfll have gained many things 
that enter into no school tkne^table, and it is to this that it 
must be our business to turn the attention of parents. We 
must make it evident to them what their children have gained 
in general development of mental and physical capacity. The 
latter will be shown in suppleness and dexterity of limb, in 
delicacy and accuracy of eye and hand, the mental growth 
will be manifested by quickness and accuracy of observation, 
by clearness of apprehension, leaving no doubt whether a 
thing is understood or not ; by the development of active 
creative powers, for Kinder-Garten pupils caa do as well as 
understand ; by interest in what has been learnt, because the 
mind has never been wearied with uninteresting matter, has 
never wandered in the dreary fog of half comprehension ; by 
some power of reasoning, accurately on the objects brought 
under consideration, the why, whence, and how of sudi things 
having habitually roused the children's attention. It will be 
shown by a sense of beauty and symmetry in form, by a 
readiness to apprehend certain elementary truths of geometry 
which in the concrete have been familiar ; the mord benefit 
also will have been considerable. Little children learn much 
by living with their equals, the gentleness, the habit of working 
together, and sharing a common interest, the affection they 
learn to feel towards their teachers, the reverence kept up by 
remaining always under the rule of their superiors, and not 
under servants, and the cultivation, through contemplation of 
nature, and of human goodness in many forms, of that deeply 

144 TJu Kindergarten 

rooted religious sentiment in the child's nature which rises to 
the notion of God, by realizing the wisdom and goodness of 
parental love. All this adds to the moral influence of home, 
and thus reacts upon it. In a word, the parents will not fail 
to recognize that their children, besides the little bundle of 
knowledge required for entrance upon school life, will carry 
these minds and bodies trained to enlarge their small posses- 
sions in every direction. And if parents do realise this fact, 
then the Kinder-Garten has educated them, as well as their 
children ; in one important particular, it will have made them 
see the difference between the instruction they might have 
given in flie common way with books alone, and the education 
that has been given by drawing out the children's own facul- 
ties within the circle of visible objects That circle comprises 
largely natural phenomena, which most children are eager to 
know about, but concerning which they seldom get the :mswer 
they require. Natural History, birds, beasts, and flowers, the 
commonest facts of general physics, the changes of seasons, 
the sun, moon, and stars, these excite the curiosity of all but 
the dullest children ; but how many of those who are aroimd 
them in general can direct and stimulate that curiosity in the 
right direction. How many, in speaking of some particular 
object, can draw it even in outline, or, if it be a plant, give it 
its right name ? But if once the value of Kinder-Garten train- 
ing can be made apparent, surely no intelligent mother — from 
the so-called educated classes — will allow herself to remain 
dumb and helpless before her child, from ignorance of the 
facts that he learns from the Kinder-Garten teachers. The 
mother cannot expect to keep always on a level with the 
advanced instruction given to her sons or daughters, but 
surely she could not bear to think that she was unfit to satisfy 
the desire for knowledge of her little child, when once she 
has satisfied herself that such knowledge is good for the child. 
She would not choose to be so out of sympathy with the 

In Relation to Family Life, 145 

creature round which all her heart-strings twine, as not be 
able to enter into every phase his unfolding intelligence is 
going through. Ignorance, however, in matters such as these 
is harmless as compared to that of principles of education, of 
the knowledge which enables us to watch and aid the develop- 
ment of childish faculty, to guard mental and physical health ; 
and this it is which the influence of Frobel's system with the 
weight it lays upon infant training will force upon the attention 
of mothers. On the importance of early impressions the 
scientific fatalist and the earnest Christian like Frobel take 
Iheir stand together. Both agree that the surroundings of the 
child from the first are what impress the pliable nature and 
form associations that affect the whole development. Yet the 
mother, who would give her life to make her child's life 
happy, remains ignorant But when once Kinder-Garten 
principles are generally accepted, young mothers will feel that 
so large a task must require preparation, that to learn the 
A, B, C of work to be performed at the moment the work is 
pressing is not the act of a reasonable being ; thus the principle 
that education begins with the dawn of life will lead to a pre- 
paratory study of education, and will in time lead to the 
acceptance of this important doctrine that no woman's own 
education is complete without a study of education ; she may 
be accomplished in many ways, or may even have reached 
high attainments, but she is not trained for life which is the 
real office of education, unless she has studied how to acquit 
herself in that most important position that life can possibly 
open to her. I think I may say that my experience as a single 
woman has not been different from that of most others, yet I 
have more than once had the care of childem thrown upon 
me, and I believe the exceptions are rare where women are 
not called upon more or less to deal with children, and I long 
for the time when it shall be deemed as unseemly for a woman 
not to understand their proper management as it is for a man 

146 The Kindergarten 

to be unfit to do active service in defence of his hearth and 
country. The service in each case is pointed out by Nature, 
and the man or woman is a recreant to the highest social duty 
who is unfit to perform it. 

The principal means therefore by which the influence of 
the Kinder-Gartens will work a reform in family life will be 
by raising in their own eyes, and in that of men, the estimate 
of woman's natural position, and of the tone of character and 
culture that are indispensable to her fulfilling the mission 
worthily. A slighting view of early education naturally 
detracts from the respect due to that mission, and feeds that 
most mischievous of all ignorant delusions, the notion that 
simply because a woman is a mother, she is fit to fulfil her 
duty to her children. 

It is easy to believe that little is needed to enable any 
woman to educate very little children, so long as education 
means only putting words into a child's mouth, or even main- 
taining such moral discipline as, thank God, is cared for in 
most English homes ; but this same charge is seen to be far 
from easy, when education Is held to mean the careful watch- 
ing that tends, but never thwarts, the unfolding of the child's 
own nature ; that studies the first symptoms of character, of 
peculiarities in the mental as well as the physical organization ; 
that allows no neglect of the bodily for the mental growth and 
welfare, nor of the latter for the former ; but keeps all in 
harmonious order, respecting the entire freedom of individual 
development, while guiding it so step by step that as the 
bodily organs strengthen, the mental growth shall correspond ; 
that what the eyes behold shall excite first pleasure, then 
curiosity, then attention, then observation and memory of 
what has been observed ; till the child is led to discover for 
himself one after another some wonders of the marvellous 
world upon which his senses have just opened All these 
faculties will be active, no doubt, without our care, but their 

/;/ Relation to Family Life. 147 

exercise will tend to no given purpose,- there will be no 
method, and therefore no orderly advance, and no preparation 
for future progress. So also with the active instincts ot 
children. The little things will play, with or without our help ; 
but we learn nothing, and can teach nothing from their play, 
if we do not carefully watch it as the manifestation of natural 
aptitudes and desires, that we have to train for higher .uses. 
These are some of the educational points to which Frobel 
directs attention, and the Kinder-Garten games and occupa- 
tions — the practical system in which these principles are 
embodied — afford at once a study and a guide to those who 
are concerned in education. When, therefore, mothers become 
familiar with that syste:7i they will be able to test their own 
capability for the office, which, under any circumstances, they 
cannot give up. The Kinder-Garten, which we hear accused 
of taking children out of home, robbing the mothers of their 
right and privilege^ &c. — the Kinder-Garten can perform but 
half its work, can at best take hold of the child partially 
and imperfectly, unless rounded and supplemented by home 
education. Instead of displacing the mother, it makes the 
imperative necessity of her care more apparent. And for 
this reason it is that the appeal to mothers from a Frobel 
society is so urgent. It is a question of all but life or death 
to the system we hold to be so valuable. 

The extreme difficulty we find in attracting students for 
Kinder-Garten training arises partly, no doubt, from the long 
prevailing English prejudice against training teachers, but 
still more from that same ignorance of the importance of 
early education that I have ahready deplored. Any one has 
been thought sufficiently instructed to teach little children ; 
the thing that seemed so easy was trusted to ignorant hands, 
and this whole department has fallen into contempt When, 
therefore, young women are told that two' years of serious 
study are required to prepare for our Kinder-Garten examina- 

L 2 

148 Tfie Kindergarten 

tioQS, they naturally turn back surprised and disappointed 
This will all be changed when women generally take a highei 
view of their natural position ; then it will be felt that no 
labour is too great for those who are to undertake its duties^ 
and that if women had no other object in view to make them 
desire culture of the noblest kind, they vould have it in the 
first great duty of training themselves to be educators of the 
next generation. With the increased sense of the value of 
infant education, there must arise an increased value for the 
influence and the education of women. The former would be 
seen to extend over the most important field of human 
interest ; the latter could no longer be a matter of indifference 
—of passe temps — of preparation for mere success, whether in 
drawing-rooms or in the labour-market; it would have a 
serious and a lofty purpose, apart from ambitions great or 
small — it would consecrate, once and for all, the power of 
women to the highest service of the nation. Frobel appealed 
solemnly to women to enter upon this high form of service ; 
and if his system, as it takes its place among us, tends to hasten 
such a reform, we may surely say, that great and beneficial as 
the influence of the Kinder-Garten is in relation to schools, 
it will be in relation to family life deeper and more far-reach- 
ing still. 

Finally, what can we as members of the Frobel Society do 
towards promoting this reform? Those among us who are 
teachers have this very clear before them. The more strictly 
they adhere to principles in their course, the more they bring 
them forward and banish mere mechanical teaching, the 
more they will force parents to see that this is no nursery 
amusement, but education as earnest and thorough as any 
given by school or university ; and we who are not teachers, 
can aid in the missionary work that belongs to all pioneeis oi 
reform. We can each within our own circle strive to make 
the new education knoiMi, can take care to put it on the true 

In Relation to Family Life. 149 

grounds, to show where it diflfers from education addressed to 
the memory ; we can try to bring young girls to learn and to 
help in Kinder-Garten teaching; we can also do good by 
trying to extend a plan I heard of with great pleasure the 
other day, that of mothers taking it by turns to attend the 
classes with their children, bringing a number of different 
minds to imbibe the spirit of the system which will lead to a 
certain number resolving to study it thoroughly, while others 
will do so partially for some practical purpose at the moment, 
but none, we may safely affirm, will remain indifferent. And 
thus here a little and there a little, by slow and often halting 
steps, our small society will become one of the most powerful 
instruments of a reform, which, beginning at the core of 
national Hfe, will gradually affect the most powerful currents of 
national thought and feeling. 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 


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